The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has announced that Izmir, the third largest city in Turkey, has won the Europe 2022 Award for the most active promotion of common European values.
Izmir was selected from among five other cities: Bamberg and Ingolstadt in Germany, Bolesławiec in Poland, Palanga in Lithuania and Ternopil in Ukraine. The jury also awarded 4 Honorary Plaques, 5 Honorary Flags and 4 European Diplomas — awards, which are also part of the Europe Prize.
Situated on the Aegean coast, the port city has been recognized for implementing initiatives to improve the lives of 4 million inhabitants and for showing solidarity on the international stage.
The city is at the forefront of helping victims of natural disasters and migrants. It manages the “Sister Family” project, which builds solidarity between migrant families and Izmir residents.
Izmir has sister-city ties with 24 partner cities around the world and attaches great importance to political, economic, social and cultural cooperation with municipalities abroad. The city is active in the field of culture: it organizes international film, music and literary events.
The Council of Europe Prize helps winning cities increase their visibility in the European arena and establish new contacts with other municipalities. Cities also receive a check for € 20,000 ($ 21,300) for scholarships for young residents to visit European institutions in Strasbourg.
Established in 1955, the Europe Prize gained popularity among war-ravaged French and German cities to forge new bonds of friendship. In the 1990s, it inspired the new countries of Eastern Europe that joined the Council of Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union to follow European ideals.