STA, 24 June 2022 - A Slovenian network of NGOs that has played a major role in challenging controversial government restrictions during the COVID pandemic is among the recipients of this year's European Citizens' Prize conferred by the European Parliament.
The Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy (Pravna mreža za varstvo demokracije) is among the 30 winners of the prize from 24 countries, the European Parliament announced on Friday.
It has received the recognition for a project supporting individuals and organisations in the use of legal means to challenge measures, procedures and policies that are unlawful, unconstitutional and undemocratic.
The European Parliament noted that the NGO network had been nominated for the prize by citizens, and that the initiative had been established in 2021 on the basis of the values of the protection of democracy and the rule of law.
With legal opinions, positions and calls, the legal network protects democratic, open, free and solidarity-based society, and thus contributes to strengthening the rule of law and protecting democracy, the press release says.
The European Parliament added that the Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy had become one of the most recognisable organisations in the field of the protection of the rule of law in the last year.
It has cooperated with the Polish and Hungarian counterparts that face similar challenges, and has managed to attract young people, which is important in the face of the European Year of Youth 2022, the Parliament said.
The award ceremony is scheduled to take place in Brussels on 8 November.
The European Citizens' Prize is conferred annually by the European Parliament for national, cross-border and pan-European projects that promote closer integration and cooperation between the residents of the EU.
The prize also promotes the values of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, such as dignity, equality, solidarity, justice and civil rights and freedoms.
The previous winners from Slovenia include jurist Lovro Šturm, authors Boris Pahor, Alojz Rebula, Drago Jančar and Evgen Bavčar, philosopher and sociologist Spomenka Hribar, humanitarian Tomo Križnar, the Simbioza association, the Union of Pensioner Associations and the Beekepers' Association.
Last year, the prize went to Kristine Modic, the executive director of the Association of Lymphoma and Leukemia Patients, and Samo Zver, the head of the Haematology Department of the UKC Ljubljana hospital.