“The Europe Prize was created at a time when the priority was to build a more humane, stronger and more inclusive Europe. Today, more than ever, in a Europe plagued by doubt which sometimes turns to intolerance and racism, we must maintain our commitment to promoting European values,” said PACE President Anne Brasseur at the ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the Europe Prize.
Jean-Claude Frécon, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, added that the current context of a crisis of confidence in elected representatives, at both national and European levels, made the Prize all the more important. Michael Hamon, Lord Mayor of Coventry, the first city to win the Prize in 1955, stressed the crucial role of friendship and mutual understanding between cultures to build and consolidate a society where people can live together.
The day of celebrations was also marked by the inauguration of a touring exhibition and a debate on “Living together in multicultural societies: respect, dialogue, interaction”, with the participation of the mayors of Dresden and Vara, the two prize-winning cities for 2015, and Nils Muiznieks, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe.
A commemorative website looking back over the history of the Prize and past winners went on-line on the PACE internet site today.