Northwest MEP Marian Harkin has been presented with a prestigious “MEP of the Year” award for the second year running.
The Independent MEP was honoured with the title in the field of EU Employment and Social Affairs at a special ceremony in Brussels this week. Last year, she scooped the “Outstanding Contribution” Award for her work during the European Year of Volunteering.
Speaking at the event, Ms Harkin expressed “surprise and delight” that she had been honoured by her colleagues for the second year in a row. She emphasised the importance of the social perspective of her work, noting that “during this economic crisis, when European citizens are under pressure, we need a counterbalance to austerity”.
Ms Harkin’s award reflects her central involvement in key dossiers such as the European Globalisation Fund (EGF), EU Microfinance strategies, efforts to combat youth unemployment and measures to improve health and safety in workplaces.
Ms Harkin paid tribute to her colleagues, Fine Gael MEPs Sean Kelly and Gay Mitchell, who also received MEP of the Year awards. “They, like me, strive to do their best for Ireland both at home and in Brussels, and these awards are a generous recognition of that work,” she said.
Irish MEPs punched above their weight in the competition, claiming a hefty three out of a total of 18 prizes. The annual event is organised by the European Parliament magazine, and winners are chosen exclusively by fellow MEPs who vote on a shortlist of nominees.