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Għaqda Każini tal-Banda wins 2017 European Citizens' Prize

First awarded in 2008, the European Citizens' Prize has recognised projects and initiatives that promote EU values, mutual understanding and facilitate cross-border cooperation. 

Staff Reporter
16 September 2017, 4:12pm
Malta's Ghaqda Kazini tal-Banda has been awarded the European Citizen's Prize
Malta's Ghaqda Kazini tal-Banda has been awarded the European Citizen's Prize
The Għaqda Każini tal-Banda has been awarded the European Parliament’s prestigious European Citizens' Prize for 2017.
MEPs Roberta Metsola (EPP), Miriam Dalli (S&D) and Francis Zammit Dimech (EPP) commended the deep-rooted role of the band clubs in Maltese society, highlighting their contribution to culture, their role in the heart of towns and villages where they serve to educate Maltese youth musically and culturally, support them in their musical aspirations and open up horizons in their interaction with other European cultures. 
Representatives of the Għaqda Każini tal-Banda, the Maltese laureates, were encouraged to attend the European ceremony of the European Citizens’ Prize to be held in Brussels on 11th October 2017, to which all Laureates are invited by the European Parliament. Participation would also  allow them to take part in European programmes such as Creative Europe.
The European Citizen's Prize was launched by Parliament in 2008 to recognize exceptional achievements by Europeans. The Citizen's Prize can be given for activities that either facilitate cross-border cooperation within the EU or promote better mutual understanding and closer integration between citizens and member states. It can also be awarded for day-to-day activities reflecting the values enshrined in the EU's charter of fundamental rights.
Since 2008, the award has recognised projects and initiatives that promote EU values, mutual understanding and facilitate cross-border cooperation.
Every year, each MEP has the right to nominate one candidate. Past winners from Malta include Chris Delicata (International Diabetes Federation - European Region), Rev. Victor Grech (Dar tal-Providenza), Puttinu Cares, Hospice Malta, Richmond Foundation, and most recently Dar il-Kaptan in 2016.
The European Citizens' Prize Laureate from Malta will join laureates from the other 27 EU countries at the European Parliament in Brussels for the European award ceremony.
“This Prize will raise the level of our activity Europe-wide, reinforcing and enhancing our long-standing musical, cultural and educational traditions”, President Noel Camilleri stated. “This Prize, this recognition by the European Parliament which represents Europe’s peoples, will also help do away with the undeserved stigma placed on band clubs by certain parts of Maltese society. As recognised by the MEPs, we are a core part of our identity as a nation.  We have also come a long way in our history”.  
Maltese MEPs nominated the Għaqda Każini tal-Banda – on the 70th anniversary of its founding – for the Citizens’ Prize in recognition of its role in promoting cross-border musical cooperation with its twinning agreements with other European towns and villages and enhancing in Maltese society the European values of tolerance and solidarity. Maltese band clubs are drivers of societal engagement particularly for youth and women and help reinforce ties across generations, MEPs said.