The names of the winners of the public choice award and six 'Grand Prix' laureates in the 2012 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards will be announced on 1 June at the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, ...
... in the presence of Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Plácido Domingo, the world-renowned tenor and President of Europa Nostra.
The ceremony will be attended by an audience of 1200 people including Aníbal Cavaco Silva, President of Portugal, and Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Asturias.
The winner of the public choice award will be chosen in an online poll from among the 28 overall laureates for 2012 .
Speaking ahead of the ceremony, Commissioner Vassiliou commented: "For 10 years, the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards has become the most prestigious of its kind in Europe. I would like to thank all the winners for their energetic commitment to protecting our cultural heritage and Europa Nostra and the juries for their sterling work. The Prize has proven very effective in raising awareness among decision-makers and the public about the value of cultural heritage for European society and the economy and our responsibility for protecting it for future generations. This is why we intend to continue supporting cultural heritage through the Culture programme and the future Creative Europe programme."
Europa Nostra’s President, Plácido Domingo, added: "Our Award Winners stand for excellence, for passion and for dedication. They are perfect ambassadors of the power of our 'Creative Europe'. Europa Nostra and the European Commission are committed to unlocking the full potential of Europe's cultural and natural heritage. They are the key to social cohesion as well as for sustainable economic growth in Europe."
All 28 winning projects will be honoured during the ceremony in Lisbon.
The ceremony will take place under the patronage of Aníbal Cavaco Silva, President of Portugal, who will speak at the ceremony, and of José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, who will send a video message. Guilherme d'Oliveira Martins, President of the Centro Nacional de Cultura, will welcome the guests. The European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards has been organised by Europa Nostra and the European Commission since 2002.
The 28 winners were selected from among 226 submitted projects from 38 countries. The final choice was made by juries composed of independent experts from across Europe. The winners will receive a plaque or trophy. The six 'Grand Prix' winners will also receive €10,000.
Cultural heritage brings a significant – and often underrated – contribution to growth and job creation. It represents a significant part of the cultural and creative sectors, which provide jobs for 8.5 million people in the EU and contribute up to 4.5% of Europe's GDP. Spending on conservation of cultural heritage by public and private bodies is worth an estimated €5 billion a year. Figures published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that 40% of worldwide international tourism has a cultural dimension. Cultural heritage is also a key resource for sustainable development and social cohesion.
The awards are supported by the Culture programme of the European Union, which has invested €30 million in co-financing heritage projects since 2007. Other EU-funded programmes also provide support in this area: since 2007 the European Regional Development Fund has allocated €3 billion for the protection and preservation of cultural heritage, €2.2 billion for the development of cultural infrastructure and €775 million to support cultural services; a further €150 million has been invested through EU Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development since 1998.
Note to editors:
Europa Nostra is the Voice of Cultural Heritage in Europe. It brings together and represents 250 non-governmental and non-profit organisations with a combined membership of at least 5 million citizens from all over Europe. It also counts on the direct support of over 1500 individual members and more than 150 associate public authorities and corporations. Its vast network of professionals and volunteers is committed to safeguarding Europe’s cultural heritage for present and future generations.
The awards ceremony in Lisbon forms part of Europa Nostra's annual European Heritage Congress. One of the themes of this year's Congress will be 'saving Europe's endangered heritage'.
The deadline to apply for the next awards is 1 October 2012. The next awards ceremony is expected to take place in Athens in June 2013.