MEPs present the European Citizen’s Prize 2017 to the ‘Ghaqda Kazini tal-Banda’
After a long, hot summer of festi, where Maltese band clubs are the core of every town and village celebration, the Għaqda Każini tal-Banda has been awarded the European Parliament’s prestigious European Citizens’ Prize for 2017.
On Friday night, MEPs Roberta Metsola (EPP), Miriam Dalli (S&D) and Francis Zammit Dimech (EPP) commended the deep-rooted role of the band clubs in Maltese society. They highlighted the band clubs’ invaluable contribution to culture, their role in the heart of towns and villages where they serve to educate Maltese youth musically and culturally, support them in their musical aspirations and open up their horizons in their interaction with other European cultures.
Members encouraged representatives of the Għaqda Każini talBanda, the Maltese laureates, to attend the European ceremony of the European Citizens’ Prize to be held in Brussels on 11th October, to which all laureates are invited by the European Parliament, and pointed out their potential to be part of European programmes such as Creative Europe.
“This prize will raise the level of our activity Europe-wide, reinforcing and enhancing our longstanding musical, cultural and educational traditions,” Presi- dent Noel Camilleri stated. “This prize, this recognition by the European Parliament which represents Europe’s peoples, will also help do away with the undeserved stigma attached to band clubs by certain parts of Maltese society. As recognised by the MEPs, we are a core part of our identity as a nation. We have also come a long way in our history.”
Maltese MEPs nominated the Għaqda Każini tal-Banda – on the 70th anniversary of its founding – for the Citizens’ Prize in recognition of its role in promoting cross-border musical cooperation with its twinning agreements with other European towns and villages and enhancing the European values of tolerance and solidarity in Maltese society. Moreover, Maltese band clubs are drivers of societal engage- ment particularly for young people and women and help reinforce ties across generations, MEPs said.
Since 2008, the European Citizens’ Prize has recognised projects and initiatives that promote EU values, mutual understanding and facilitate cross-border cooperation.
The European Citizens’ Prize Laureate from Malta will join laureates from the other 27 EU countries at the European Parliament in Brussels for the European award ceremony.
The European Citizen’s Prize was launched by the European Parliament in 2008 to recognize exceptional achievements by Europeans. The Citizen’s Prize can be given for activities that either facilitate cross-border cooperation within the EU or promote better mutual understanding and closer integration between citizens and member states. It can also be awarded for day-to-day activities reflecting the values enshrined in the EU’s charter of fundamental rights.
Every year, each MEP has the right to nominate one candidate. Past winners from Malta include Chris Delicata (International Diabetes Federation – European Region), Rev. Victor Grech (Dar tal-Providenza), Puttinu Cares, Hospice Malta, Richmond Foundation, and most recently Dar ilKaptan in 2016.
Dr Noel Camilleri, President of the Għaqda Każini tal-Banda, receives the Citizens’ Prize medal from MEPs Roberta Metsola, Miriam Dalli and Francis Zammit Dimech. Photo: European Parliament Information Office in Malta