President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, receives the II Cercle d’Economia Award for the European Construction on behalf of the European Comission

  • President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, awarded at the European Construction Award's second Edition
  • The first prize was awarded to Mario Draghi, the President of the Italian Council of Ministers, by Pedro Sánchez, the Spanish President, during the 2021 Cercle d'Economia Annual Meeting

On December 9, the jury of the Cercle d'Economia Award for European Construction met to resolve the second edition of this award, which was unanimously awarded to Ursula von der Leyen, on behalf of the European Commission.

The jury of the European Construction Award is chaired by Teresa Garcia-Milà, a member of the Board of Directors of Cercle d’Economia; and it includes Javier Faus, president of Cercle d’Economia; Núria Mas and José González Páramo, members of the Board of Directors of  Cercle d’Economia; Pol Morillas, director of CIDOB; Xavier Prats Monné, Director General of Health and Food Safety at the European Commission (2015-2018); Nathalie Tocci, director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali and expert in International Relations; and Mercè Franquesa, Secretary General of Cercle d’Economia and Secretary of the European Construction Award.

The current presidency of the European Commission began in December 2019, a few months before the declaration of the Covid-19 pandemic. During this period, President von der Leyen has led a coordinated action with all the member states, contributing to the strength and construction of Europe. Specifically, with this award, we want to highlight initiatives promoted by the European Union to deal with the pandemic and its consequences. First, the launch of the Next Generation EU funds, an ambitious program to support the recovery and resilience of EU countries in the face of the pandemic-induced crisis, which is financed by the issuance of joint debt. This program breaks down a double barrier to traditional Union policies; on the one hand, for the solidarity contribution of transfers to the countries most affected by the crisis; and on the other hand, for its financing through the issuance of debt with the guarantee of the budget of the same Commission.

Teresa Garcia-Milà, President of the Jury, emphasized: “In the face of the crisis caused by the pandemic, the coordinated action of all the member states, led by President von der Leyen, has responded to the economic and social needs of the citizens of the European Union with innovative and effective actions. The launch of the Next Generation EU funds is a poof of how the European Union is overcoming its limitations and strengthening itself by responding to difficult situations.”

The second initiative was to develop a series of health proposals, including a European Union strategy for vaccination against Covid-19, in order to accelerate the development, manufacture and distribution of vaccines. An important action within this strategy has been the joint purchase of vaccines to ensure uniform and single-price access to all Member States. This has led to a crucial step forward regarding the coordination and control of the pandemic.

As the president of Cercle d’Economia, Javier Faus, states: “Delivering the European Construction Award to Ursula von der Leyen, Cercle d’Economia wants to recognize the trajectory of those people who, due to their political leadership or presence in European institutions, have contributed to the construction and integration of Europe, its culture, its strength, and the presence of the Union in the world. It is a real honour to present the second edition of this award to the President of the European Commission. Cercle d’Economia maintains its firm commitment to Europe. More European integration is the recipe for facing the great economic, social and geopolitical challenges we face”.

This year marks the second edition of this award dedicated to recognizing the careers of those who have contributed to the construction of the European Union. During the 2021 Cercle d’Economia Annual Meeting, Pedro Sánchez, President of the Spanish Government, and Javier Faus, President of Cercle d’Economia, presented the first award to Mario Draghi, President of the Italian Council of Ministers. At the time of the award’s resolution, Draghi was chairing the European Central Bank and agreed to collect the award during the Cercle d’Economia Annual Meeting scheduled for the end of May 2020.