Created by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in 1955, the Europe Prize is the highest distinction that can be bestowed on a European town for its actions in the European domain. It consists of a trophy, a medal, a diploma and a scholarship to be spent on a study visit within Europe for young people from the winning municipality.
The Prize rewards municipalities for their active promotion of the European ideal (twinnings, European events, exchange visits, etc.), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe offers every year four awards: the European Diploma, the Flag of Honour, the Plaque of Honour and the Europe Prize.
In 2021 a new Europe Prize trophy replaced the original trophy dating from the creation of the Prize in 1955. Designed by a team of young graphic artists from the Strate School of Design in France and manufactured by Atelier S. Gérard in Paris, it was selected as the winning design after a 2019 competition among young people from across the Council of Europe’s member States. As with the previous trophy, it will travel from city to city throughout Europe, displayed for a year in each winning town.
The Europe Prize Award System
First step: the European Diploma
The first step in selecting Europe Prizewinners. Some 20 diplomas are awarded every year. Mayors of the winning towns are presented with a parchment bearing the date and the name of the municipality at an official ceremony at the Palais de l’Europe in Strasbourg during the spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly.
Second step: the Flag of Honour
The flag, embroidered and fringed with gold, is the most popular award and an essential step towards the Plaque of Honour and the Europe Prize. Fifteen to twenty are allocated every year and over 1,100 have been awarded since 1961. A member of the Parliamentary Assembly presents it to the winning municipality at a municipal ceremony open to a wide public.
Third step: the Plaque of Honour
It consists in its upper part of brass figures representing the rape of Europe, in the central part of the twelve stars of Europe with the year the Plaque was awarded inscribed in the middle, and on the lower part a stylised map of the Great Europe indicating the name of the prize winning municipality. It is presented to the winning municipality by a member of the Parliamentary Assembly at a ceremony to which the local population is invited. Eight to ten plaques are awarded each year and 220 have been presented so far.
Fourth step: the Europe Prize
The highest award, created in 1955 to recognize outstanding efforts in promoting European unity. Eighty-four towns have been honoured; only one city is awarded each year the Europe Prize.
The Trophy (held for a year), the bronze medal and the commemorative parchment accompany a 20,000 euros scholarship to fund European study visits for young people of the winning municipality.
A delegation of members of the Sub-Committee on the Europe Prize of the Parliamentary Assembly presents the Prize at an official ceremony organised by the winning town and to which the local population, schools, partner cities and local associations are invited.