MEPs present the European Cit­i­zen’s Prize 2017 to the ‘Ghaqda Kazini tal-Banda’

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS -

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

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