Atlas Network is delighted to announce the finalists for the 2019 Europe Liberty Award, which will be presented on May 9 at the Europe Liberty Forum in Athens, Greece. The four finalists are EasyBusiness (Ukraine), Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI, Lithuania), Libertarian Club—Libek (Serbia), and Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation (UEFF, Ukraine). Each finalist will receive a $1,500 USD prize, and the winner will receive a $6,500 USD prize. The Regional Liberty Award program is generously sponsored by John Templeton Foundation.
EasyBusiness — "Agricultural Land Reform”
EasyBusiness developed a comprehensive land reform strategy that included strategic litigation, which is helping to end a moratorium of the sale of agricultural land. Its plans included a policy research program; an online platform to support landowners in filing applications to the European Court of Human Rights to challenge the legality of the ban and to build bottom-up pressure for reform; and a broad communications strategy.
“The implementation of the farmland reform in Ukraine is a long-playing game that requires tremendous effort and dedication,” said Dmytro Lyvch, project manager and head of analytics at EasyBusiness. “And our team is happy to see that our work actually pays off and gains global recognition.”
To find out more about EasyBusiness' project, click here.
Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) — “Unblinding Taxpayers as an Antidote to Tax Hikes”
The Lithuanian Free Market Institute first began work to consolidate social security contributions in 2014. After four years of research, coalition building, and a wide-spread media campaign, the Lithuanian Parliament consolidated the tax base for social security contributions, put a cap on contributions, and reduced the contribution rate in July 2018. Beginning January 1, 2019, the policy reform has delivered on LFMI’s desire to create a simple and transparent labor tax system as an antidote to tax increases.
"Being a finalist for Europe Liberty Award is a hugely gratifying recognition of the work we have accomplished towards a simpler and fairer tax system,” said Aneta Vainė, vice president of LFMI. “Above all, for us this honors a reform that pays tribute to each and every Lithuanian taxpayer."
To find out more about LFMI’s project, click here.
Libertarian Club — Libek — “Talas.rs Media Outlet”
Libek’s online media outlet, “Talas” (“The Wave” in Serbian), provides a classical liberal voice in the national dialogue by providing daily opinion and commentary articles on trending political, economic, and cultural topics in Serbia. The site, which also features a podcast and video channel, provides for the first time ever a classical liberal news outlet for 7 million Serbians and more than 20 million Serbian speakers in the Balkans.
"Being a finalist for the Europe Liberty Award is a very important recognition of our work to reach people at scale and find new and more effective ways to communicate the ideas of liberty to wider audiences,” said Petar Čekerevac, executive manager of Libek. “We look forward to the Europe Liberty Forum and will keep working to make great political content in future."
To find out more about Libek’s project, click here.
Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation (UEFF) — “Tax Reform Project”
For the last two years, the Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation has spearheaded the implementation of reforms that have culminated in the adoption of 21 separate amendments to Ukraine’s tax code. Reforms include abolishing taxes on investments and capital flows, freezing land tax hikes for the next 7 years, mandating the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine to create a database of all 9,500 local tax rates for all 9,500 municipalities throughout Ukraine, among others. UEFF estimates the package of reforms will save hundreds of millions—if not billions—of dollars in the coming years. The centralized database also saves thousands of man-hours for companies with locations in multiple counties. Lastly, the removal of the 15 percent tax of foreign currency loans from non-residents is sure to increase foreign direct investment.
"UEFF's team is honored to be a finalist of the European Liberty Award for a third year in a row,” said Maryan Zablotskky, director of UEFF. “Significant reforms were done with the support of Atlas Network that we were able to build upon. Among other things, we were able to achieve the easing of tax regulations and lower tax rates in the areas of investments and borrowings, that should lead to greater investments and economic growth."
To find out more about UEFF’s project, click here.