Held at the House of the Capital Region in Brussels, the ceremony on 27 September witnessed the convergence of the liberal political family, ELF member organisations, partners, and the press. This year, the awards were conferred in three categories: Liberal of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, and Rising Star.
Estonian Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, received the Liberal of the Year award, presented by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Recognized as one of Europe’s most influential leaders, Kallas has steered Estonia towards prosperity and inclusivity. Her leadership saw the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Estonia, the first among Baltic countries. Additionally, Kallas emerged as a significant voice in shaping the EU’s stance on the Ukrainian war.
The Lifetime Achievement award was bestowed upon MEP Guy Verhofstadt, commemorating his enduring commitment to European integration. Verhofstadt, former prime minister of Belgium and ex-leader of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament, was honoured for his advocacy for European unity and significant contributions in shaping the EU’s approach to the Brexit deal. His lifelong dedication to liberal values and civil liberties has left an indelible mark on both Belgian and European politics.
Luis Cano, the political campaigner and founder of the Rainbow Platform, was named the Rising Star. As a vital member of the Hungarian Momentum party and founder of Rainbow Platform in 2022, Cano has championed LGBTQI+ rights, creating role models for political engagement and change. His efforts led to the Dublin Diversity Declaration, endorsed by over 40 liberal parties across Europe.
The European Liberal Forum is a political foundation affiliated to the ALDE Party and serves as a beacon of liberal ideals and principles of freedom, with 55 member organisations spanning Europe.