The 2022 Europe Prize – the highest level of the Prize which is awarded each year by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to the town most active in promoting the European ideal – has been awarded to İzmir in Turkey.
Located on the Aegean Sea, İzmir is the second largest port in Turkey after Istanbul and the third largest city in Turkey, with four million inhabitants. The city is twinned with 24 cities around the world. It pays significant attention to co-operation in political, economic, social and cultural fields with municipalities abroad and has received numerous foreign delegations.
As a congress city, it regularly organises several major events: the İzmir International Fair, the Balkan Folk Dance Festival, the International Economic Congress and the İzmir International Jazz Festival.
In 2021, due to the pandemic, the city organised the first international virtual marathon in İzmir's history. In the summer of 2021, İzmir also organised the İzmir International Film and Music Festival, the European Music Day and the 5th İzmir International Literature Festival around personalities from the literary world of Europe and beyond.
Europe Day is celebrated every year with many events such as the visit of the Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, information meetings and discussions on European opportunities in some municipalities, associations and universities, and Eurodesk information stands in universities.
İzmir is a city of solidarity that helps victims of natural disasters and people in need. It strives to integrate migrants into the İzmir way of life and implements the "Sister Family" project in which migrant families and İzmir families spend time together and get to know each other.
It also plays an active role in international organisations such as EUROCITIES, the Network of Mediterranean Cities (MedCities), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the WHO European Healthy Cities Network, to name but a few.
Five other towns, namely Bamberg and Ingolstadt in Germany, Bolesławiec in Poland, Palanga in Lithuania, and Ternopil in Ukraine were also shortlisted for the Prize, and the committee commended their applications.
Created by 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. The prize consists of a trophy, a medal, a diploma and a scholarship to be spent on a study visit to European institutions for young people from the winning town.
The committee also awarded 4 Plaques of Honour, 5 Flags of Honour and 4 European Diplomas – awards which also form part of the Europe Prize. Full details here.