Sebastian Kurz: “Europe needs the engagement of committed citizens“

Curtain up for civil society commitment to Europe – call for entries for the Europe State Award 2016

Europe is facing major challenges. These challenges are, however, not limited to global crises, competition with other regions or ways of dealing with trends such as digitisation, but are to a large extent related to criticism, fears and concerns held by people in connection with these developments. “There is no alternative to Europe – particularly for Austria. Thus it is all the more important that we contribute towards shaping and further developing Europe – by working together with citizens. Especially now, in what are very demanding times for Europe, we are called to discuss political challenges together, clearly underline the opportunities inherent in a common Europe and enable an honest approach to dealing with European topics. The Europe State Award was thus designed to put a spotlight on individuals and projects that implement precisely these objectives at a local level”, Federal Minister Kurz stressed.

For the second consecutive year, projects led by committed citizens will be distinguished with the Europe State Award in the categories Civil Society, Reporting on Europe and Youth. In the first category, the award will be granted to civil society initiatives at the local, regional or European level. Evaluation of the entries will focus on the extent to which these projects have contributed to realising the common goals of European integration and promotion of greater European awareness.

In the category “Reporting on Europe”, the award will be granted to journalists whose coverage of information has contributed to promoting a better understanding of complex, European policy developments.

The third award category is dedicated to youth projects that have been initiated in particular by students and young people and foster addressing and dealing with European policy issues or European policy education. Such projects include initiatives that promote youth mobility and add visibility to the opportunities Europe offers young people.

“The Europe State Award is an important acknowledgement of the many initiatives that contribute towards promoting understanding of the EU and cohesion in Europe. Today especially Europe requires not only people who are convinced of the European idea but mainly those who are ready and willing to convince others of the importance of Europe. We therefore conceived the Europe State Award as a way of recognising these people, their commitment and initiatives and seek to motivate them to continue their efforts”, Federal Minister Sebastian Kurz said, explaining the underlying objective of the Europe State Award which will be presented on 28 August 2016 in the context of the European Forum Alpbach.

The Europe State Award is endowed with a total of 10,500 euros, i.e. 3,500 euros for each of the three categories. The award winners will be selected by an expert jury composed of several specialists. Entries and nominations may be submitted online at: www.bmeia.gv.at/europastaatspreis and must be received by 12:00 on 15 June 2016.

 

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