"Europe & Me", a UK online lifestyle magazine for young Europeans, won first prize at the Charlemagne Youth Prize 2011 on 31 May in Aachen. The second prize went to "Balkans Beyond Borders", a short-film project (Greece) and the third to the "Escena Erasmus Project" (Spain), a cultural exchange programme for Erasmus students. The Charlemagne Youth Prize is awarded annually to projects that foster a shared sense of European identity and integration among young people.
The first prize was awarded by EP President Jerzy Buzek, the second by EP Socialists & Democrats Group leader Martin Schulz and the third by Mayor of Aachen Marcel Philip.
United Kingdom - "Europe & Me"
EP President Jerzy Buzek said: "The project we chose is extremely original. If you open its web site you will see this. You are faced with an ideal European "Man" or "Woman" divided into five different parts: the brain, the heart, the diaphragm, the baby and the legs - and each part represents a different idea of what being "European" means".
Europe & Me is an online lifestyle magazine created by young Europeans for young Europeans in 2007. Its motto is to "make Europe personal", because Europe is often identified only with politics and bureaucracy. Today, Europe & Me is a platform that allows people to take the initiative, develop themselves and find like-minded individuals.
"I think the main message of this project is that Europe is, can, and should be "cool". This word itself - "cool" - is becoming more and more popular in politics nowadays", added Mr Buzek.
Greece - "Balkans Beyond Borders"
In his speech on the runner-up, German MEP and leader of the European Parliament's Socialists and Democrats Group Martin Schulz said: "Balkans Beyond Borders seeks to overcome borders by making films and raising awareness that all the Balkan countries will gain through regional co-operation. Balkans Beyond Borders has its finger on the pulse of the times with this year's theme of shooting short films on the crisis."
Spain - "Escena Erasmus Project".
Finally, the third prize went to the "Escena Erasmus Project" (Spain). Launched in 2009, this is a pioneering European project addressed mainly to Erasmus students, encouraging cultural and linguistic exchanges. It is intended to become a theatrical "net" which promotes exchanges among European university theatre companies. Presenting the third prize, Aachan's Mayor Marcel Philipp, said that "culture is what holds Europe together in its innermost self and culture is inextricably linked with education".
The three winning projects will receive funding of €5,000, €3,000, and €2,000 respectively. Their representatives will also be invited to visit the European Parliament in the coming months.
Representatives of the 27 projects were invited to the award ceremony on 31 May in Aachen.
The award ceremony was co-organised by the European Parliament and the International Charlemagne Prize Foundation and hosted by Aachen University.
Welcoming speeches were given by EP President Jerzy Buzek, International Charlemagne Prize Foundation Chairman Michael Jansen, and Rector of Aachen University Ernst Schmachtenberg.