Dr Winnie Ewing has become the recipient of the Medaille en Or du Merite Europeen award, collected in Luxembourg last night on her behalf by her MSP daughter Annabelle.
The former President of the European Commission, Jacques Santer, presented the award.
Dr Ewing is the only Scottish politician who has served in three parliaments during her distinguished career, which saw her sit first at Westminster, then the European Parliament where she gained the affectionate nickname ‘Madame Ecosse’ for her passionate defence of Scotland’s interests, and then finally was an MSP in the first session of the restored Scottish Parliament – a session that began with her declaring that “the Scottish parliament, adjourned on 25th March 1707, is hereby reconvened”.
Commenting, Winnie Ewing’s daughter Annabelle – who is the MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said: “My mother is absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this prestigious tribute – and it was an honour for me to travel to Luxembourg today to accept the award on her behalf.
“I know that my mother felt privileged to represent the people of Scotland in each of the three parliaments in which she served during her career – but it was in the European Parliament in particular in which she felt she could achieve most for Scotland.
“Her time in Europe was marked with significant successes, and by her constant promotion of Scotland’s national interest, earning her the sobriquet of Madame Ecosse.
“As well as her outstanding service in Europe, my mother’s election as the SNP’s first female parliamentarian in 1967 inspired a generation of Scottish women – and it is fitting that this medal is awarded just as Scotland’s first gender-balanced Cabinet under Nicola Sturgeon takes office.
“I am immensely proud of my mother’s role in Scotland’s national story, her distinguished service in Europe and her role as a trailblazer for women in Scottish politics– and I am delighted that her outstanding service has been recognised in this way today.”