Coppieters Awards Ceremony to Recognise Jill Evans and Nelly Maes

2020 and 2021 Coppieters Awards honour two women politicians of the Welsh and Flemish movements

Events / Fri 15 Oct 2021 18:00

On 15 October 2021, the Coppieters Foundation will honour Jill Evans and Nelly Maes as the 2020 and 2021 recipients of the Coppieters Awards, respectively, at an official ceremony in Brussels.

With these awards, Coppieters will recognise their lifelong work for self-determination for Wales and Flanders, respectively.

These two remarkable women will be honoured and thanked for their dedication and political engagement.


What are the Coppieters Awards?

The Coppieters Awards are an initiative of the Coppieters Foundation to honour individuals and organisations that, like Maurits Coppieters himself used to, stand for the defence of cultural and linguistic diversity, inter-cultural dialogue, self-determination, the rights of minorities, peace, democracy and a united Europe. The main objective of the Coppieters Awards is to give recognition to individuals and organisations that have successfully managed to find innovative ways to advocate for and embody these values.


Who are Jill Evans and Nelly Maes?

Jill Evans is a Plaid Cymru politician who served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Wales from 1999 to 2020.

She was a political activist before being elected to public office and participated in the Greenham Common campaign.

She first stood in Torfaen in the General Election of 1987. She was later elected to several councils between 1992 and 1999. During her time as a councilor, she was elected as Plaid Cymru’s Alternate Member of the Committee of the Regions in 1993, a position she held for four years. She was also the party’s representative to the European Free Alliance (EFA), working with Plaid Cymru’s sister parties throughout the continent.

She was Chair of Plaid Cymru between 1994 and 1996 and in June 1999, was elected as an MEP, becoming the party’s first. She was then re-elected at subsequent elections in 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019.

During her 2009-2014 mandate, she was the President of EFA, and the first Vice-President of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament. During her 2014-2019 mandate, she was the Vice-President of the EFA Group.

Jill Evans was one of the longest-serving EFA MEPs, having served 21 years, from 1999 to 2020. Her long political career was dedicated to social justice, Europeanism and the right to self-determination of the peoples. She also stood firmly against Brexit.

Nelly Maes is a Flemish politician who worked closely with Maurits Coppieters and devoted her political life to promoting the values of EFA and our foundation. She was an activist in the youth movement, the Flemish movement and the women’s movement.

She began her career as a local politician for VOLKSUNIE/Spirit in St-Niklaas, Flanders between 1970 and 2010. She was then elected to the Belgian Federal Parliament between 1971 and 1978, and 1981 and 1995. She became a Member of the Flemish Parliament in 1995, a position she held until 1998.

Her career took a European turn with her election as an MEP in 1998. During her mandates, she used every opportunity to highlight cultural and linguistic diversity, the right to self-determination, and justice and equality for all. She became a President of the EFA group and the first Vice-President of the Greens/EFA group in 1999, and first President of EFA between 2004 and 2010.

From 2005 to 2015, she was the first President of the Flemish Peace Institute.


15 October 2021

18:00 - 19:00
Reception and networking
19:00 - 20:00
Award ceremony

Opening by Antonia Luciani, Secretary-General of the Coppieters Foundation

Speeches by

  • Antonia Luciani, Secretary General of Coppieters Foundation
  • Xabier Macías, President of the Coppieters Foundation
  • Jill Evans, Award recipient
  • Nelly Maes, Award recipient
20:10 - 21:00
Networking and photo opportunity

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When: Friday 15 October 2021, from 18:00 to 21:00
Where: Maison Grand-Place, Grand Place 19 Grote Markt, Brussels

Finger food and drinks will be provided.


The event will be held in English. No interpretation will be provided.

Get involved:

This event is invitation-only. It is a private event and access is only allowed upon receipt of invitation and confirmation of interest.

Share your views about the event on Facebook or tweet with the hashtag #CoppietersAwards21


Media inquiries can be addressed to

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These awards are financially supported by the European Parliament. The European Parliament is not liable for the content of the event nor the opinions of the speakers at the awards ceremony.

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