Ahead of 2023 Europe Liberty Forum, Atlas Network Announces Finalists for Europe Liberty Award
The three finalists for this year's Europe Liberty Award are Belgium-based EPICENTER (represented by Adam Bartha); Bulgaria's Institute for Market Economics (represented by Svetla Kostadinova); and Lithuanian Free Market Institute (represented by co-founder Elena Leontjeva). The winner will be announced at Europe Liberty Forum in Prague, Czech Republic, on May 25.
The Europe Liberty Award is part of the Templeton Freedom Award Prize program sponsored by Templeton Religion Trust—named for the late investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton. In addition to Latin America, the program sponsors awards in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and the Middle East and North Africa. Its grand prize, the Templeton Freedom Award, is presented annually at Atlas Network’s Liberty Forum and Freedom Dinner in New York City. This year, the prize program will award $270,000 in grants to high-achieving organizations that make innovative contributions to economic freedom and human progress.
EPICENTER is focused on addressing the cost of living crisis in Europe, providing the region’s policymakers with the intellectual ammunition needed to push for liberalizing reforms, especially those that alleviate economic burdens. Working closely with Atlas Network partners across the continent, EPICENTER conducted policy research while leveraging traditional and social media channels. The think tank’s message garnered over 600 mainstream media mentions in eight countries and reached the majority of European households, with more than 110 million individuals now better informed about the actions their governments can take to reduce prices. The media campaign also reached prime ministers and other policymakers, contributing to regulatory reforms in France and Italy, in addition to stopping a planned tax increase in Romania.
Institute for Market Economics (Bulgaria)
After Bulgaria’s Supreme Justice Council (SJC) put forth a 2021 proposal that threatened the integrity of the country’s judiciary system, the Institute for Market Economics stepped in to stop it. In 2021, the SJC publicly presented a model for a new court map, which included plans to cease the operation of—but continue paying for—numerous courts across the country. This would have limited rural entrepreneurs’ access to the Bulgarian legal system by forcing them to travel long distances to more populated areas. With that in mind, IME executed a media campaign to reverse the SCJ’s efforts. And it worked: The proposal was scrapped and the two SJC members responsible for the court map ultimately resigned. IME also used the opportunity to promote its preexisting work on judicial reform, helping make the country’s legal system work for all Bulgarians.
Lithuanian Free Market Institute (Lithuania)
In 2021, the Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) supported the country’s liberalization of its labor migration system, which was passed into law in June 2022. At a time when protectionism and restrictionism dominated public discourse, LFMI promoted the freedom to work, income mobility, and human dignity—all the more important given the mass migration of Ukrainian refugees today. LFMI not only conducted a systemic analysis of Lithuania’s over-regulated labor migration system, but its experts also shared concrete policy recommendations that changed the discourse. Because of their efforts, Lithuania is now a haven for all immigrants, with the issuance of temporary work permits doubling in recent months and Lithuanian companies now better-equipped to address manpower shortages.
“Across Europe, our partners are working tirelessly for freedom and prosperity, even in the face of war,” said Atlas Network CEO Brad Lips. “Atlas Network is proud to honor these three free-market champions and to celebrate the example they have set for other organizations in Europe and beyond. From Belgium to Bulgaria and Lithuania, our independent partners inspire us with their efforts to achieve liberty for all.