WASHINGTON—Today, The Heritage Foundation announced the recipient of the 2023 Steven M. Sass Economic Freedom Award, Javier Fernandez-Lasquetty.
Fernandez-Lasquetty has been a leading intellectual voice promoting market-oriented reforms and advancing the defense of Liberty in Madrid and all of Spain. Born and raised in Spain, Fernandez-Lasquetty obtained degrees in Law and Political Science and served Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar as Deputy Director of his cabinet. In 2004, Fernandez-Lasquetty went on to become a Member of the Spanish Parliament, where he remained until 2007.
Over the past years, Fernandez-Lasquetty’s work at various policy-making levels in Spain has focused on how to improve the economy and enhance employment with a mission to implement policy of tax reduction and economic liberalization. During his term as the Regional Minister of Finance for the President of the Madrid Region, Madrid has benefited from 20 tax cuts in two years. In the same period, more than 200 regulations have been repealed or reduced. These impressive economic reform measures, put together by Fernandez-Lasquetty, have contributed to making Madrid “the engine of Spain."
The Heritage Foundation’s Steven M. Sass Economic Freedom Award was established in 2020 to recognize and encourage individuals and organizations that notably contribute to promoting free-market principles and policies. The late Daniel Doron, founder of the Israeli Center for Social and Economic Progress, was the first recipient of the award in 2021. Marcin Nowacki, vice president of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers in Poland, was honored with the Steven M. Sass Economic Freedom Award in 2022.
On February 23 this year, the Heritage Foundation released the 2023 edition of its annual Index of Economic Freedom. The new report shows economic freedom deteriorating across the globe. The world economy, taken as a whole, has become “mostly unfree.” Regrettably, the global average economic freedom score has fallen from the previous year’s 60.0 to 59.3—the lowest it has been over the past two decades.
Launched in 1995, the Index of Economic Freedom evaluates countries in four broad policy areas that affect economic freedom: rule of law; government size; regulatory efficiency; and open markets.
Dr. Kevin Roberts, president of The Heritage Foundation, said of the 2023 Index:
“This year’s ‘Index of Economic Freedom’ reveals just how fragile the world’s economy has become.
"The world and America are at a crossroads. Too many countries have renounced basic economic principles leaving communities to suffer the consequences. They must choose either the narrow path of self-governance, human dignity, and ordered liberty, or the broad path of an economy run by the managerial elite with no room for dissent or responsibility. One path leads to prosperity, and the other leads to ruin.”