Each year, Atlas Network’s Templeton Freedom Award Prize Program, generously sponsored by the Templeton Religion Trust, honors and rewards outstanding projects by our partners across the world through both the flagship Templeton Freedom Award and five Regional Liberty Awards. The latter each offer a prize of up to US$10,000 and recognition on stage at the applicable Regional Liberty Forum. Fundacja Liberté! (Poland), KEFiM (Greece), and Liberalni Forum (Bosnia and Herzegovina), have been chosen as the finalists for the 2022 Europe Liberty Award for their powerful work to expand individual freedom and economic choice. Read on to find out more about the exciting efforts for liberty that earned each of them spots as finalists.
Since 2014, Fundacja Liberte! has held their two-and-a-half day Freedom Games event to create a space for liberty-minded individuals to gather and discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead for classical liberalism. Held in Lodz, Poland, the organizers were forced to innovate in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and move the event online. The organizers realized the potential of a hybrid format, and in 2021 Freedom Games were streamed online, in addition to meeting in-person. Working in conjunction with other Atlas Network partners, like-minded organizations, local and global businesses, and the city government has allowed Fundacja Liberte! to reach a global audience, with last year’s event reaching over two million online participants. They look forward to building on their success and learning experience during this year’s Freedom Games event in October.
In 2017, KEFiM, or Center for Liberal Studies, embarked on their Greece 2021: Agenda for Freedom and Prosperity initiative. This ambitious project set out to provide a liberal alternative to the far left and populist right policies that had resulted in the economic devastation of Greece. KEFiM worked with experts and scholars to craft reform proposals in nine policy areas, including education, healthcare, fiscal policy, tax policy, regulation, and more. Months of work resulted in dozens of reform packages and hundreds of proposals. They then presented their reform agenda during a two-day event, which featured the leader of the key New Democracy political party and now prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis as the keynote speaker. Since then, the Greek parliament has fully implemented 28% of KEFiM’s 310 reform proposals and partially implemented an additional 21%. Between 2018 and 2020, Greece rose by 3% on Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom and 52% on the World Bank’s Government Effectiveness report.
Until recently, the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina heavily regulated craftspeople, making it very difficult for them to grow their businesses or even make a living. Stringent licensing and business registration requirements kept many people from entering the market in the first place. Liberalni Forum identified this as a high-impact, low-controversy area of reform and set out to propose a better regulation that would allow craft businesses to thrive. After two years of work, the organization convinced lawmakers from a variety of political parties to back a reform bill, which passed the lower house of parliament in July 2021 and the upper house in September 2021. The bill successfully implemented 80% of Liberalni Forum’s suggested changes to the law. Now, it is far simpler and faster to register a business; occupational licensing requirements have been abolished; craftspeople can practice their trade part-time if they wish; and they can trade their goods internationally—to name just a few of the changes now in place. The law remains imperfect, and Liberalni Forum hopes to reform it further, but craftspeople in Bosnia and Herzegovina now have far greater freedom in earning a livelihood than just a few short years ago.
Join us in Warsaw, Poland, on May 12–13 for Europe Liberty Forum 2022, and be the first to find out who will take home the 2022 Europe Liberty Award!