The 2023 Europe Prize has been awarded to Bolesławiec in Poland. This award is given annually by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to the town most actively promoting the European ideal.
Bolesławiec is a city of 90 000 inhabitants in western Poland, at the crossroads of the Czech Republic and German borders. The city is a melting pot of cultures and has become a refuge for many Ukrainians fleeing the war. In 2022, the city’s foreign partners joined forces in a support action and signed the declaration of Solidarity with Ukraine.
The city is highly involved in numerous EU-funded projects with a diverse range of European partners. The city’s programmes focus on various topics and target audiences, particularly young people, cultural heritage, and exchanges within the network of European Ceramics cities.
Every year, the city hosts the Ceramics Festival, which attracts thousands of Europeans, and the International Ceramics and Sculpture Workshop. Bolesławiec is also a member of two cultural routes of the Council of Europe: the destination Napoleon Route and the European Route of Ceramics.
During its 800 years of turbulent history, it has been alternately Polish, Prussian, German, and then Polish again. After the communist period, the city overcame economic collapse to become a modern, multicultural city open to international cooperation.
The city has ten twin towns in Europe, including Prnjavor (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Česká Lípa (Czech Republic), Mariagerfjord (Denmark), Nogent-sur-Marne (France), Pirna (Germany), Siegburg (Germany), Vallecorsa (Italy), Acuto (Italy), Molde (Norway), and Zbarazh (Ukraine). Additionally, Bolesławiec cooperates internationally with a network of over 150 cities and institutions.
Four other towns – Rambouillet in France, Bamberg in Germany, Palanga in Lithuania, and Odesa in Ukraine – were shortlisted for the Prize, and the Committee commended their applications.
Established in 1955 by PACE, the Europe Prize is the highest distinction awarded to a European town for its actions in the European domain. The Prize includes a trophy, a medal, a diploma, and a scholarship to be spent on a study visit to European institutions for young people from the winning town.
Additionally, the Committee awarded six Plaques of Honour, five Flags of Honour, and twelve European Diplomas – awards that also form part of the Europe Prize. Full details here.
Further details can be found on the PACE website.