Organizations from Ukraine, Bulgaria, and UK named finalists for 2024 Europe Liberty Award

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The three finalists for this year's Europe Liberty Award are Adam Smith Institute (UK), Bendukidze Free Market Institute (Ukraine), and Institute for Market Economics (Bulgaria). The winner will be announced at Europe Liberty Forum in Madrid, Spain on May 23–24.

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 Europe, the program sponsors awards in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America, and the Middle East & North Africa. Its grand prize, the Templeton Freedom Award, is presented annually at Atlas Network’s Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner in New York City. In 2024, the prize program will award $270,000 in grants to high-achieving organizations that make innovative contributions to economic freedom and human progress.

This year’s three European finalists are the Adam Smith Institute (United Kingdom), Bendukidze Free Market Center (Ukraine), and Institute for Market Economics (Bulgaria). More information about the finalists can be found below:

Adam Smith Institute (United Kingdom)

To address the United Kingdom’s housing crisis, the Adam Smith Institute undertook a comprehensive effort to educate policymakers and the general public about free-market solutions, particularly a reduction in government bureaucracy to increase the supply of homes. ASI’s work built on the momentum of the 2023 “Leveling-Up and Regeneration Act,” which included recommendations from ASI, such as incorporating a “Street Votes” policy to empower communities down to the most local level to advocate for housing in their own areas. Ahead of the 2024 General (Parliamentary) Election, ASI has laid the groundwork for a more market-friendly approach to housing in the next government’s planning policy, as major aspects of ASI’s policy recommendations have already been adopted into party platforms. Because of ASI’s efforts, an estimated four million additional homes are expected to be built over the next 15 years.

Bendukidze Free Market Center (Ukraine)

Even amidst war, the Bendukidze Free Market Center is securing the successful future of Ukrainian youth, publishing more than 50,000 economics textbooks in 2023 and making them available all over the country. To teach Ukrainians about free-market economic policies, Bendukidze has developed immersive educational materials for school children; provided support to teachers of economics-related subjects; and created various incentives for the teaching and studying of market economics. Because of Bendukidze, Ukraine is now home to a capable teacher community of market-oriented thinkers who can instruct students about values like entrepreneurship, in addition to building out a support network—including local businesses—that can invest in economic education at school. Last year also saw the launch of the “Economic Olympiad” in Ukraine, with almost 400 schools and more than 4,300 students participating, and participation expected to double to nearly 10,000 students in 2024.

Institute for Market Economics (Bulgaria)

Thanks to the Institute of Market Economics, Bulgaria is reforming its legal system to remove some of the remaining legacy of Soviet domination. Starting in 2015, IME has championed rule of law in Bulgaria, most notably with the creation of the “IME Legal Program.” For years, the IME Legal team has created a network of supporters, communicated its key messages intensively, and worked with all political parties to implement judicial reforms. As a result, the Bulgarian National Assembly passed a constitutional amendment in December 2023, removing many Soviet influences from the country’s judicial system and reining in the previously unchecked power of the Prosecutor General. The amendment reduced the length of the Prosecutor General’s term, created a system of oversight and accountability, and removed the office’s ability to freely meddle in the lives and businesses of law-abiding citizens.

“As Europe continues to grapple with war, rising authoritarianism, and other threats to freedom and liberty, our think tank and ‘do tank’ partners are holding fast to their free-market principles,” said Atlas Network CEO Brad Lips. “And, because of idea entrepreneurs’ unwavering commitment to human dignity and individual liberty, these European freedom champions are making serious progress in countries like Bulgaria, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. Our team could not be more proud of their efforts, especially in the face of extreme pushback from the continent’s emboldened authoritarians.”