Bratislava, Slovakia – Slovakia’s president-elect Zuzana Čaputová has been named European Personality of the Year by the European Leadership Awards.
Zuzana Čaputová named European Personality of the Year
The award was granted during a ceremony held in the Palais d’Egmont in Brussels earlier this week, co-organized by the Euronews media and the European Business Summit. The European Leadership Awards is meant to honour “European leaders for outstanding achievements in business, politics, entrepreneurship and innovation” and “recognize the men and women shaping Europe”.
“I am humbled and honoured by this award”, Zuzana Čaputová, who will officially be sworn in and take office as Slovakia’s head of state on June 15, reacted on Twitter. “It serves as an encouragement for my future work”.
First woman to be elected president in Slovakia, Zuzana Čaputová’s successful bid against ruling Smer party candidate Maros Sefcovic was widely celebrated as a victory of pro-European, liberal forces in a Central European landscape backsliding into populism and illiberalism.
Other nominees for the European Personality of the Year award included Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist, and Lilian Thuram, a former French professional football player, UNICEF ambassador and anti-racism activist.
EU Commission chief named top European leader
The Award recognizes outstanding achievements in four other categories: EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was named European Leader of the Year, beating Cecilia Malmström, the Swedish European Commissioner for Trade and Michel Barnier, the French diplomat in charge of the EU’s Brexit negotiations.
The European Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Vincent Zimmer and Markus Kressler, founders of an initiative to provide higher education to refugees. Yvan Bourgnon, a “Swiss navigator and the founder and CEO of ‘The Sea Cleaners’, was recognized as European Innovator of the Year, while Saori Dubourg, member of the board of BASF, received the European Corporate Social Initiative of the Year.