The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has awarded the Civil Solidarity Prize to the Malta Chamber of SMEs for its support to SMEs during the uncertain COVID-19 times. The chamber moved its usual services online and stepped up its provision with a series of webinars and a platform for business owners.
The EESC, an advisory body representing Europe’s civil society at the EU level, selected the Malta Chamber of SMEs as the best Maltese candidate for the Prize, saying its entry stood as a shining example of remarkable solidarity during the COVID-19 crisis.
As the crisis took hold, the Chamber – which represents over 7 000 SMEs – altered its work and created a support structure for them that focused on their essential needs and ultimate survival. This included exchange of good practices, information sessions, masterclasses, conferences, webinars, policy proposals and public representation.
The Malta Chamber of SMEs was announced as one of the 23 laureates in a virtual award ceremony held by the EESC on 15 February. Each winner received the prize worth 10,000 EUR.
Handing out the prizes, the EESC’s vice-president for communication, Cillian Lohan, said:
“The EESC has repeatedly stressed that solidarity and targeted shared action are key to surviving such a pandemic. The only effective response to a crisis such as this pandemic is to act quickly, decisively, and together. There are lessons here for dealing with other crises whether they are social, economic or environmental.
Civil society has been at the forefront of all solidarity actions and without their help on the ground, the price paid for this pandemic would be much higher. All the projects we received are proof of selfless citizen and grassroots engagement, showing the contribution of civil society in this fight to be enormous. With this prize, we are acknowledging the people and organisations making a difference in these unprecedented times. It is an honour to be able to celebrate together”.
The awards went to the winning entries from 21 countries of the European Union. One prize was given to a project with a cross-border focus and one to an organisation from the United Kingdom, as a gesture meant to show that the EESC wanted to keep close ties with UK civil society despite the fact that the country has left the EU.
Although the EESC aimed to find a winner in each EU Member State and in the UK, it received no eligible entries for projects in six countries.
Watch the moment of the Award Announcement below!