The record number of 284 applications for this year's EESC Civil Society Prize on Migration, has clearly shown that migration and the integration of refugees continues to be a major area of action and concern for European Civil Society. The 2016 Prize will reward model and inspiring projects that represent the best of human solidarity in Europe and which have demonstrated real on the ground impact.
The EESC has shortlisted 5 applications from Hungary, Germany, Spain and two from Greece for the 2016 European Civil Society Prize on Migration. This year's Prize is intended to go to individuals and organisations who have distinguished themselves through their work in improving the lives of migrants and fostering their integration in European society.
The shortlisted applications include;
- a German-led project which played a role in saving up to 5,000 lives at sea,
- a Greek baker who took the initiative to distribute bread and pastries to thousands of hungry and desperate migrants in need,
- a Spanish project which literally brought thousands of local residents and migrants to the table to eat and understand each other, and
- two other projects which were pioneering in Hungary and Greece in assisting migrants and facilitating their integration in society.
A full summary of each of the shortlisted projects can be found here.
According to EESC President George Dassis; "Civil society organisations have played a fundamental role in the recent migration crisis and these projects provide inspiration for us all. Civil mobilisation has the force to change the course of history and in awarding the annual EESC Civil Society Prize, I hope that these exemplary projects will inspire us all and show how, when we work together, European citizens can make the EU a better place for all."
The winning projects amongst those shortlisted will be announced in an award ceremony on 15th December at the EESC Plenary session in Brussels.
Those selected will share a cash prize of 50,000 Euros in recognition for their work in order to give a much needed boost to their projects so that even more people can be helped. The Civil Society Prize, now in its eighth year, is awarded each year to an important area of the EESC’s activities. The 2015 prize was dedicated to civil society organisations working to combat poverty.
Since the start of the refugee crisis, the EESC has conducted fact-finding missions in 11 EU countries (Austria, Sweden, Greece, Hungary, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Malta, Poland and Bulgaria) plus Turkey, enabling EESC members to discover the reality of conditions on the ground. In its March 2016 report, the Committee put forward a number of recommendations. Above all, the EU and Member States must unite in implementing a fair, common asylum system. Refugees need safe, legal routes into Europe, followed by long-term integration policies.
Further details about the 2016 Civil Society Prize are available here.