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Sandi Curk wins European Citizen’s Prize

The European Parliament has announced the winners of the European Citizen’s Prize for 2023.

Sandi Curk

Sandi Curk, Commander of the Regional Civil Protection Headquarters for Notranjska | Author Bor Slana/STA

Among the 38 winners from 25 Member States is Sandi Curk, Commander of the Regional Civil Protection Headquarters for the Notranjska region, for his project to help Ukrainian orphans and refugees who lost everything as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the European Parliament has announced.

Sandi Curk helped the Slovenian Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants to coordinate and set up accommodation for 120 Ukrainian refugees. He was responsible for the accommodation of mothers with minor children in Postojna, they explained.

He was nominated for the award by MEP Ljudmila Novak, with the support of six other Slovenian MEPs – Romana Tomc, Franco Bogovič, Milan Brglez, Matjaž Nemec, Irena Joveva and Klemen Grošelj.

The European Parliament added that his role as a coordinator between the local authorities, state institutions and the government office at the beginning of the war was also indispensable in other Slovenian municipalities. They stress that the project to help Ukrainian orphans and refugees is based on common European values and is an example of European solidarity in action. The project also highlights the close connections between European nations and demonstrates a high degree of solidarity among EU citizens with the victims of the war in Ukraine.

"Sandi Curk, Commander of the Regional Civil Protection Headquarters for Notranjska, is a philanthropist, volunteer and humanitarian to his core and a great man," they wrote.

As a committed humanitarian, Mr Curk has also taken action on his own initiative in response to other tragic events, they added. In 1992–1995, he organised the transfer and accommodation of 2,700 refugees from Bosnia, while in 1997 he organised accommodation for 1,000 refugees from Kosovo. At the time of Slovenia’s largest ice storm in 2014, when 100,000 residents of Notranjska were left without electricity, he organised rescue and other emergency assistance. His cooperation has also been vital in the recent devastating earthquakes in Croatia and Turkey.

Each year, the European Parliament awards the European Citizen’s Prize to national, cross-border and pan-European projects that promote closer integration and cooperation between EU citizens and values enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, such as dignity, equality, solidarity, justice, and citizens’ rights and freedoms.