Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) This year’s European Rail Champion Award 2023 has been awarded to Ukrainian Railways.
The annual award is made by the Association of the European Rail Supply Industry and the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies
It aims to celebrate the achievements of inspired individuals whose “bright ideas, ingenious innovations, and bold policy initiatives” have contributed to enhancing, growing and strengthening rail today and for the future.
A spokesman for both groups said, “With this award, we wish to pay tribute to the remarkable resilience and continuation of transport services by Ukrainian Railways in times of war and unimaginable hardship.
“Since the start of the war, Ukrainian Railways have provided a lifeline to millions of residents and displaced citizens and kept vital aid and supplies flowing through the country.
“Working under the most difficult and dangerous conditions, UZ employees’ heroic efforts are ensuring the continuation of transport services according to a regular railway schedule. These efforts demonstrate the enormous resilience and crisis fitness of the railway system and the importance of strong railway companies.
“The ongoing achievement is highly deserving of our honorary recognition, with which we would also like to underline the EU community’s solidarity and support.
On 31 January at the official ceremony, Oleksandr Pertsovskyi, a Member of the Board of Ukrainian Railways, will collect the award on behalf of UZ and its entire workforce.
First presented in 2007, the awards event itself attracts more than 500 guests each year from all over Europe, including high-level politicians and transport stakeholders. The award comes with prize money donated to a charity of the laureate’s choice.
Meanwhile, the Collective Against Islamophobia in Europe’s (CCIE) annual report on Islamophobia in Europe for the year 2022 has highlighted the war in Ukraine as a cause for concern.
The report says, “In 2022, the war in Ukraine was particularly revealing of the European imaginary of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ refugees. The latter, who are blamed for their Muslim faith, have been regularly discussed in public debates, highlighting a European islamophobic attitude towards the migration issue.”
Released later this week, it says, “The situation of Islamophobia in Europe today requires regular moments of reflection on the past period. The report has undertaken such a reflection.”
The rise of the far right has been particularly worrying this past year, it adds.
“In Italy, it now governs one of the founding countries of the European Union, in Sweden it is pulling the strings of the right-wing government, and in France, it has again reached the second round of the presidential elections. At the same time, far-right groups are becoming more and more violent.”
It says, “The fight against ‘radicalization’ continues to create, nurture and reinforce the stigmatization of Muslims across Europe, creating a climate of suspicion that allows for constant violations of their fundamental rights and freedoms. It causes serious human rights violations and constructs Muslim communities as security problems.”