Recognising outstanding achievements as a means for promoting important policies - EU competitions are great opportunities for citizen participation.
Individual achievements and business initiatives are an important factor in constant social progress. Breakthroughs in medical research, green transport in urban areas and great investigative journalism all help to move Europe forward.
The EU acknowledges the importance of such exceptional contributions through a number of prizes, which also serve to raise public awareness of important issues and attract greater public involvement.
Everyone can participate: competitions are organised in many fields ranging from entrepreneurship, science and technology, the environment and health to journalism, regional development and culture. Some are open to individuals, while others target businesses, scientific teams or organisations, and many focus on young people and schools.
Until the end of this month, for instance, schools can participate in the development youth prize by submitting a poster or multimedia presentation. This year’s edition focuses on Africa and sustainable development. Participants can win a trip to Africa to see EU development assistance in the field.
Upcoming competitions include the inventor of the year awards, which recognise the most successful inventions of recent decades and the Lorenzo Natali prize, which honours journalists for excellence in reporting on human rights and democracy.
Many competitions are also organised locally by the Commission's offices in the individual EU countries.
Entering such competitions is not only a chance to win a prize - it can also lead to international recognition and open many doors for winners.