Mitteilung an die Presse 2009

"YOUrope needs YOU": best European Charlemagne Youth Prize project

The Polish youth project "YOUrope needs YOU" was awarded the first prize in the European Charlemagne Youth Prize (ECYP) competition on 19 May in Aachen. Through a series of high school workshops run by university students, this project uses informal methods to convey to teenagers interesting facts about Europe. The second and the third prize went to the "European Festival of university theatre of Albi" (France) and to "Gumboot Diplomacy" (Germany) respectively.

EP President, Hans-Gert Pöttering, and the Chairman of the Foundation of the International Charlemagne Prize, Michael Jansen, participated in the ceremony and handed the prize to the first-prize winner. The ECYP acknowledges projects that foster a shared sense of European identity among young people.

Welcoming the representatives of the 27 candidate projects Hans-Gert Pöttering declared: "With your ideas, creativity and engagement you prove to us how young people experience the European idea as well as how you consider common Europe as a real community and opportunity for your future".

"YOUrope needs YOU"

"YOUrope needs YOU" was designed by members of the European Students' Forum, AEGEE, to empower European high school students to become active citizens.  The project trains university students willing to share their EU knowledge by giving workshops at schools.  In December 2008 the first high school workshop took place in Gostyn, Poland. The university students presented Europe and the chances it offers to pupils from Poland and 30 exchange students from France.

For Hans-Gert Pöttering "this project represents in a convincing way European diversity. It influences through meetings as well as workshops the participants and the countries they come from. This is the case, because the participants of this project are both ambassadors and multipliers of the European idea. Taking this into account the project stands out as a model example, on which other initiatives in the European Union could be based".

"European Festival of university theatre of Albi"

Luigi Cocilovo, Vice-President of the European Parliament, presented the second prize to the "European Festival of university theatre of Albi". "The Festival, which takes place annually, brings theatre groups, actors, comedians and music artists from all over Europe to Albi in France, where they perform for local audiences. The event aims to promote European cultural and artistic diversity to as a wide an audience as possible.

In his speech, Mr Cocilovo stressed that "the enthusiasm of the young people from all the Member States of the European Union, which have participated in the European Charlemagne Youth Prize, is an important signal to re-launch the development of a common feeling of European identity and integration".  In his view, "the European Festival of Albi is an important occasion to discover Europe and its culture through theatre". Moreover, "this project demonstrates a real "open - minded spirit" and underlines the idea of diversity which is part of European identity".

"Gumboot Diplomacy"

Finally, Jürgen Linden, Mayor of Aachen, handed the third prize to "Gumboot Diplomacy" from Germany.  In the course of this project, groups of young people from the Netherlands, Poland, Hungary and Germany conducted research into localised flooding in their areas, before carrying out joint research in the water meadows of the German river Lippe and presenting their results to each other and a panel of experts at a joint conference.

Prizes and selection procedure

The prizes for the three best projects receive funding of €5 000, €3 000 and €2 000, respectively. The three laureates will visit the European Parliament in the coming months.

In March national juries consisting of at least two MEPs and one representative of a youth organisation selected a national winner from each of the 27 Member States.  In April, the European jury, consisting of three MEPs, the President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pöttering and four representatives of the Foundation of the International Charlemagne Prize, selected the three winners from the 27 projects submitted by the national juries.