Staff in the EU institutions who have raised more than half a million euros to help fellow European citizens hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis have seen their efforts honoured as an outstanding example of Good Administration in a special award made by the European Ombudsman.
The EU Staff COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund has raised over 650,000 euros in personal donations from European public servants during the pandemic. Managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, Belgium’s leading philanthropic institution, grants have so far been distributed to 35 projects helping those most in need in 11 European Union member states.
Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, whose office holds the EU administration to account on behalf of citizens, said that this year’s crop of Good Administration Awards recognised “the great lengths EU staff went to in order to help citizens during the pandemic”.
Minna Helminen, one of the organisers of the EU Staff Fund, said the award was a welcome recognition of civil servants’ commitment to European solidarity that goes beyond their professional roles. “In addition to the tremendous efforts of our institutions, many EU civil servants feel an obligation to make a personal contribution and help countries and people in need,” she said.
David O’Sullivan, a former Secretary General of the European Commission who chairs the Fund’s management committee and also sits on the board of the King Baudouin Foundation, said: ”Thanks to the collaboration with the KBF, it has been possible to identify many excellent projects and to ensure the rapid disbursement of funds with a real impact on the work of local charities addressing the challenges of the pandemic on the front line.”
Those given grants from the Fund include Faros, helping unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Athens in the midst of the pandemic, and Pe Stop, providing masks and menstrual products for Romanian women hard hit by the economic slump triggered by the virus.