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Emerging Europe announces 2019 winners of its annual Remarkable Achievement Awards

The World Bank’s CEO Kristalina Georgieva (pictured above) and two incumbent prime ministers, Alexis Tsipras of Greece and Zoran Zaev of North Macedonia, have been named as the recipients of Emerging Europe’s Remarkable Achievement Awards for 2019.

Dr Georgieva has been awarded the Princess Marina Sturdza Award, while Mr Tsipras and Mr Zaev have jointly been given the Professor Günter Verheugen Award. The awards will be presented at a special ceremony to be held as part of the Emerging Europe Leaders’ Meeting and Awards, which takes place on June 27-28 in London at the headquarters of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The entire programme will take place at two more venues: the Palace of Westminster and the Gherkin.

“The Emerging Europe Awards promote best practice and individuals who embrace and enhance collaboration, unity, inclusion, diversity and progressive thinking,” says Andrew Wrobel, Founding Partner, Emerging Europe. “Through their work Dr Georgieva and prime ministers Tsipras and Zaev proved that their goal is to unite and prosper. As an organisation that brings the world together to shape the future of Central and South-East Europe, we are honoured that the Emerging Europe Council has recognised the remarkable achievements of these three individuals.”

Zoran Zaev. Photo: Zoran Zaev official website

Following an almost three-decade long dispute and after months of often delicate negotiations, Greece and FYR Macedonia signed an agreement last summer renaming the latter as the Republic of North Macedonia. Following the agreement coming into force in February 2019, permanent representatives to NATO signed a protocol on the accession of North Macedonia to NATO. Mr Tsipras visited Skopje in April 2019 and became the first Greek PM to have done so since North Macedonia’s independence in 1991.

Professor Günter Verheugen, the Patron of the Award and a former Vice President of the European Commission says that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece and Prime Minister Zoran Zaev of North Macedonia have successfully demonstrated that common sense and European spirit can overcome the most difficult burdens of the past. “The end of the dispute opens the way towards good neighbourly relations, reduces dangerous tensions in this part of Europe and facilitates the process of EU integration of the whole Western Balkan region,” he adds.

Alexis Tsipras. Photo: Alexis Tsipras official website

Dr Kristalina Georgieva has built a reputation as a gender equality champion, humanitarian, and leader in the global fight against climate change. During her term at the European Commission, where she served as the European Commission vice president for budget and human resources, she managed one of the world’s largest humanitarian aid budgets and established herself as a global champion for resilience. At both the Commission and the World Bank, she has driven progress on gender balance, pushing towards a target of 40 per cent women in management by 2019 at the European Commission, and achieving parity in senior management at the World Bank.

“Mrs Georgieva’s whole carrier path is a clear demonstration that women are best equipped to become world leading politicians, if given a fair chance to do so. She is one of too few role models in a world that needs gender equality to become a fairer and better place to live in. She is a very fine example of the new generation of European politicians from Central and Eastern Europe, who combine professional excellence with a warm human personality, and inspire many people by leading,” Professor Verheugen says.

The Emerging Europe Council, which chose the laureates, is an independent advisory body to the board of directors of Emerging Europe, and includes leading opinion-formers, senior business executives, scholars, former senior representatives of international organisations, civil society and the world of diplomacy and art.

Main photo: World Bank