9 November 2020 — On the 132nd anniversary of Jean Monnet’s birth, and with close to seventy projects submitted over two months, we are delighted to announce the results of the Jean Monnet Prize for European Integration 2020.
EuropeanConstitution.eu awards the 2020 Jean Monnet Prize for European Integration to “Home is Where the Herz is”, a project aimed at giving a voice to Vienna’s immigrants communities, organised by the Austrian media outlet Metropole. The second place goes to Mia Europo, a French-based monthly periodical helping children and adolescents discover Europe. The third place goes to the Voters Without Borders team for their European Citizens’ Initiative aimed at granting EU citizens with full electoral rights wherever they live in the EU.
With a lack of coordination in Member States’ responses to the COVID pandemic leading to a higher death toll and worsening living conditions for millions of citizens, 2020 is proving a particularly challenging year for Europe. However, while we did not exactly meet last year’s election-boosted number of applications, the number of projects submitted to the 2020 Jean Monnet Prize for European Integration is a vibrant testimony attesting of the vitality of citizens’ engagement in favour of a more united and integrated Europe.
Once again, projects displayed, in the best of lights, the engagement and fertile imagination that citizens are capable of. We heard about online debates to discuss the future of our Union. We heard about mobile apps quizzing citizens on their knowledge of Europe. We heard about mock trials to help explain how does what in the EU. We heard about long-gone European countries, resurrecting from the ashes of history. We heard about solidarity, culture, education. We saw a thousand way to promote European integration.
Citizens and political rights
Last year’s major election proved a reminder that, while European citizens are entitled to vote in local and European elections wherever they reside, they remain cut off from regional and national politics. For the 17.6 million citizens living and working outside of their Member State of citizenship, this means their inability to participate in the political life of their community. Despite freedom of movement being one of Europe’s biggest achievements, mobility still comes at the cost of civic engagement.
For their effort to remedy this limitation and make the EU more inclusive, the third place of the Jean Monnet Prize 2020 goes to Voters Without Borders, a European Citizens’ Initiative aimed at providing citizens residing outside of their Member State of citizenship with full electoral rights. While many more signatures are needed, the team achieved a first major victory when the European Commission included in its 2021 Work Programme its intention to “improve the electoral rights of mobile Europeans.” While you’re here, go sign their Initiative!
We believe that every citizen residing in another member state is contributing not only to the cultural and economic wealth of the country but to the overall Europeanisation and integration of our societies. Integration, for us, means that our borders are becoming weaker and our ties stronger.Anna Comacchio, campaign coordinator
Next Generation EUropeans
Too often, the EU is derided as a Brussels-centric project that citizens have little knowledge about. While this impression is not entirely false, it is not written in stone and it is up to all of us to spread information about our Europe. This is particularly important for children and adolescent, who grow up as citizens of Europe as much as of their country. From history to geography, from culture to fun facts, and from sports to food, there are endless things we can learn about each other across borders.
This is why the second place of the Jean Monnet Prize goes to Mia Europo, a youth-oriented magazine helping the next generation of Europeans discover and understand Europe — a Europe they are already a part of and yet hear very little about. Each issue includes a detailed and engaging presentation of a Member State, as well as a news section to help children understand what happens in Europe. “We seek to help children develop a European feeling”, says Pauline Colin, co-founder of Mia Europo.
Léo Frey and Pauline Colin, co-founders of Mia Europo (left) and spreads of the magazine (right)
This is actually Mia Europo’s second application to the Jean Monnet Prize and we are delighted to see that last year’s nascent project has endured and led to a captivating series of publications. Based in France, the magazine is sold across Europe and its founders are now seeking to expand their reach across the continent.
For us, European integration is all the things that we share without even realising it: a currency, a citizenship, a passport, and of course, many elements of our history and culture.
We have already released twelve issues of our magazine to help children discover Europe and understand what the European integration means. It is gratifying that our work is recognized and we are very happy about it!”Pauline Colin and Léo Frey, co-founders of Mia Europo
Living together and knowing one another
Finally, while mobility and free movement have been hailed as the EU’s greatest successes, the same cannot be said about the integration of foreign citizens within the EU – be they from other continents or from the EU itself.
Nationalists have often played on this situation, drawing the conclusion that borders should be closed to non-nationals and that “immigrants” should be sent back. Recent attacks in France and Austria have only made those worrying calls more vocal.
We strongly disagree with this opinion and instead argue that we must get to know one another and learn from each other – immigrants from locals and local from immigrants. This is why EuropeanConstitution.eu awards the 2020 Jean Monnet Prize for European Integration to “Home is Where the Herz is”, a project aimed at giving a voice to Vienna’s immigrants communities.
The project is the brainchild of the Austrian media outlet Metropole and focuses on several of Vienna’s largest immigrant communities, from Romania, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Germany, Bulgaria, Syria, Turkey, Croatia, and Bosnia. “What moves the more than 770,000 Viennese (out of a total of 1.9 million) who were born abroad and chose to move across borders, cultures and language barriers to live here?” asks Project Lead Benjamin Wolf. “This is what our project set out explore. European integration turned Vienna once more into a hub of Central and Eastern Europe. We aim to spark a conversation across communities, in people’s own voices, to show how Europe grows together – one city at a time.”
The Metropole team (left) and workshops for the Community Leads (right)
In order to create this conversation, Metropole organised countless hours of workshops and cultural exchanges and will issue, between September 2020 and July 2021, ten printed publications (in addition to its own magazine), provide social media content and videos, and organise monthly offline get-togethers. The content comes from young Viennese journalists with roots in these communities, supported and guided by the Metropole team. “Our great discovery in this project is the extent to which European integration is already happening all around us. What we hope is that we are helping, as Jean Monnet might have said, to “create” the Europe we want to live in. The Prize tells us we are on the right track.” sums up Dardis McNamee, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Metropole.
European integration is about the conversation, about talking to each other. This is what our project is about: The people you know are your neighbors and possibly your friends. Everyone else is a stranger.Margaret Childs, CEO & Publisher of Metropole
Helping build bridges between communities in one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities, this project is also a testament that we can all be actors of this cross-border conversation and contribute to European integration. “The media has a unique voice, says Louis Drounau, founder of EuropeanConstitution.eu, and we were impressed by Metropole’s way to place this voice at the service of a better understanding between people and between communities.”
Once again, we would like to sincerely thank all the applicants for their contributions and incredible work; our patron, the European Parliament, and our pro-European partners for their trust and support in broadcasting this initiative; and, beyond them, all those who have supported, contributed to, and promoted this 2020 edition.
European integration is our common goal and we are honoured to bring our contribution to this effort. We look forward to further editions of the Jean Monnet Prize, as well as to other European initiatives!
If you wish to support our work promoting European integration, consider donating to EuropeanConstitution.eu!
The Jean Monnet Prize 2020 was organised in partnership with: