Moldova leader’s ’European vision’ earns prize
The prize was awarded in a multi-stage process by a jury composed of leading personalities from the Romanian professional community in various fields. In designating Maia Sandu as the winner of the 2023 prize, the jury members said they appreciate the clarity of her European vision and the determination with which she pursues it.
They said Ms Sandu believed in the European aspirations of the Republic of Moldova when many considered them a utopia. With incredible hard work, courage and a rare sense of decency in politics, she persistently fights to carve out a European path for Moldova.
In justifying the choice, the jury noted: “Maia Sandu’s European voice is heard loud and clear both at home and in all international capitals. She has initiated an extensive process of reform and diplomatic promotion, earning the trust of European partners and beyond, that Moldova is on an irreversible path towards the European Union”.
The jury added: “Every time she spoke honestly to the citizens, explaining that the process through which Moldova will become part of the European Union is not an easy one, but a necessary one that will ensure peace and prosperity for Moldova. Her political communication skills, with a humane, clear and values-laden style, are impressive and a ray of sunshine in a Europe facing an acute crisis of trust.”
The European Council unanimously voted this December to begin accession negotiations with the Republic of Moldova to the 27-member European Union. The Timișoara Prize for European Values was established this year by the Municipality of Timișoara through a unanimous decision of the Local Council. The prize honours internationally recognised personalities who, with determination, courage and creativity, promote or defend European values inside and outside the EU. The EUR 30,000 is supported by contributions from Timișoara companies.
Mayor Fritz said: “In the crisis times we are going through, Timișoara is ready to take a clear stand in defending and promoting European values. These values are also Timișoara’s values: freedom, democracy, diversity, tolerance. They are values that Timișoara gained with courage and blood in December 1989. It affirmed them with enthusiasm this year as the European Capital of Culture. The Timișoara Prize for European Values is the concrete affirmation of the spirit of Timișoara, charged with courage and freedom.”
The jury members are: Mircea Cărtărescu (Bucharest), writer; Iulia Motoc (The Hague), judge at the International Criminal Court; Cristian Măcelaru (Cologne), musical director of the National Orchestra of France; Simona Miculescu (Paris), Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Romania to UNESCO; Anca Miruna Lăzărescu (Munich), director and screenwriter; Adriana Babeți (Timișoara), writer and literary critic; and Mayor Fritz.
Statements from the jury members:
Simona Miculescu: “It was an easy choice for me because Mrs. Maia Sandu, the
first female president of the Republic of Moldova, perfectly fits the prototype of a
promoter of democratic values that we want to honour with this award. She has
remained faithful to her principles based on an anti-corruption platform, consistently and firmly pursuing her main political objectives: taking the country out of poverty, holding authorities accountable, and strengthening ties with the European Union. Our prize is a well-deserved tribute to the portrait of a reformist politician that Mrs. Maia Sandu has carefully built, through measures applied with perseverance, winning us all over, and through the personal example of decency and modesty.”
Iulia Motoc: “Maia Sandu, a historic President of Moldova and Europe, a President of values. Beyond the public values she supports: the rule of law, democracy, judicial independence, Maia Sandu represents the discretion and strength of a President who knows how to lead with excellence in times so challenging for Europe.”
Cristian Măcelaru: “The city where freedom took shape in December 1989 should be the European example of true freedom. By its nature, to give emphasis to these values, we also align our thinking and draw inspiration for the future to continue fighting for a better Europe. Maia Sandu is the natural choice for the first laureate of the prize.”
Adriana Babeți: “The distinction that Timișoara awards to Maia Sandu is charged with a special significance these days: it attests to the courage of authentic solidarity, supported by the unwavering trust of the people of Timișoara in the values of Europeanness. It is the emblem of hope for a common future, for a common good.”
Mircea Cărtărescu: “Mrs. Maia Sandu is a brave person, made from the substance of heroines, a great chance for the Republic of Moldova. At the same time, she is a natural person, close to her fellow citizens. For the first Timișoara Award for European Values, there could not have been a better choice. The award honours Mrs. Maia Sandu to the same extent that it is honored and validated by this first choice.”
Anca Miruna Lăzărescu: “Strong, daring, and with an exceptional moral compass, we all need more ‘Maia Sandu’ in our lives!”