Council of Europe Awards
Kharkiv is the first and only city in Ukraine that has a full set of Council of Europe awards: a diploma, an honorary flag, a table of Europe and the Europe Prize.
The Council of Europe’s award system is an important tool in improving relations between all countries and European citizens and spreading the idea of a united Europe. Founded by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Council of Europe in 1955. The European Diploma is the first step towards receiving European Awards. Three of the following are: Honorary Flag, Honorary Table and Prize of Europe. These awards are honored by municipalities and regions of Europe for European activities, the development of friendship and cooperation between European regions and the deepening of ties between them.
Receiving European awards not only greatly improves the status of the city, but also opens up broad opportunities in the field of cooperation with promising cities and regions, as well as with international organizations and foundations.
In April 2003, at a meeting of the Council of Europe Committee on Local and Regional Issues, Kharkiv was awarded the European Diploma for its outstanding contribution to the dissemination of the idea of European unity and the restructuring of the European community. On June 26, 2003, an official ceremony was held in Strasbourg (France).
A year later, on April 30, 2004, the President of the Subcommittee of the Europe Award of the Commission for Environmental Protection and Agriculture of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe reported that “The Honorary Flag of the Council of Europe 2004 was awarded to the city council of Kharkov”.
The Council of Europe flag symbolizes the blue sky of the Western world, in which 12 golden stars arranged in circles embody the union of Europeans. The number of stars is constant, 12 means a symbol of excellence. The emblem was approved on December 8, 1955 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the unanimous recommendation of the Parliamentary Assembly. Since May 1986, it is also the official emblem of the European Commonwealth.
The Table of Honor is the second in importance and precedes the main award of the Council of Europe – the Prize of Europe. The solemn ceremony of the presentation of the Table of Europe took place on August 23, 2008 in Kharkiv, at the Constitution Square. The delegation was attended by the 16 sister cities of Kharkov. During the ceremony, the Honorary Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Viktor Ruthi said that it is a great honor for him to present the city with a high award a second time and that “Kharkiv authorities and Kharkiv citizens do a lot to popularize their culture in the world and Europe.”
In April 2010, at the meeting of the Council of Europe, Kharkiv was unanimously awarded the highest European award – the Prize of Europe.
The Europe Prize was founded by the Council of Europe Cabinet of Ministers in 1955 as the highest award honored by municipalities and regions of Europe. The prize consists of a commemorative award, a medal, a diploma and a scholarship for young people from the winning city who will go to study in Europe.
The ceremony of rewarding was held on August 23, 2010 at specially convened 47th extraordinary session of the Kharkiv city council of the V convocation. For delivery in Kharkiv there arrived one of the most representative for all history of the international organizations headed by the President of PACE Mevlyut Chavushoglu. The president of PACE emphasized that the Prize of the Council of Europe for the first time arrives in Ukraine, and noted: “All members of council of Europe were pleasantly struck when made this decision, the fact that Kharkiv managed to develop so many strong links to twin-cities and partners. A large number of people participated in this surprising event, and for them it was big acquisition. We want to thank Kharkov citizens for their participation in this work”.
In response, Acting Kharkov Mayor Gennady Kernes emphasized the historical significance of the event: “In 2010, we solemnly celebrated the 65th anniversary of the Great Victory. Therefore, it is very important and pleasant for us that the Prize of Europe is awarded to Kharkiv today. We see in this a deep historical meaning, not only recognition of the merits of young generations of Kharkiv citizens, but also gratitude to our veterans who gave their lives for saving the world, who re-built Kharkiv. Everything that our city is rich and famous for is the result of the creative work of all generations of Kharkiv citizens. ”
The ceremony was attended by Melih Gokchek, Mayor of the capital of Turkey, Ankara, the city – winner of the European Prize in 2009. According to him, to receive such an award is a great honor (almost 100 cities from 50 countries participated in the competition), this greatly enhances the international authority of Kharkov.
Kharkiv confirmed the high status of the winner of European awards, becoming one of the cities hosting the matches of the final part of Euro 2012.
Note: The submission for the award to the city council and the municipality of Europe Awards is made on a special Questionnaire of the Council of Europe, on the basis of which the Subcommittee of Europe Awards of the Commission on Environmental Protection, Agriculture, and in the territorial affairs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe makes the appropriate decision.
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