Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The European Commission announced the winners of its first European Capitals of Inclusion and Diversity Awards.
The body pointed out in a statement on Thursday that the awards highlight “towns, cities and regions across the EU leading by example in inclusive policies.”
It added that the awards are presented for promoting racial, religious, ethnic, sexual and age diversity as well as diversity of disability and Roma integration.
Cologne won the gold in the category of local units with more than 50,000 inhabitants, Gothenburg won the silver and Barcelona won the bronze.
In the category below 50,000 inhabitants, Koprivnica won the gold, Ingelheim won the silver and Antequera won the bronze.
Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, warned that vulnerable groups face increased risks in times of crisis.
“Today, we honour these cities that are leading by example in protecting the dignity and freedom of everyone in our communities,” she noted and added “as we celebrate the winners, we are reminded of the importance of such initiatives in support of the values which represent our union, at whichever level that may be.”
European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli congratulated the winners of the EC’s first Inclusion and Diversity Awards and local authorities that responded to its diversity and inclusion push.
“Today, these local authorities have showcased in the best possible way how together we can uphold equality and diversity and strive to be inclusive for all,” she concluded.
The Commission pointed out that the awards were launched as part of its Anti-Racism Action Plan 2020-2025 and stressed that the move is aimed at achieving equality.
The body noted that applicants were awarded points based on “involvement of people exposed to discrimination in policy-making” as well as scope, nature and impact of their programmes.
The Commission reminded that it is funding diversity and inclusion initiatives, with some 1.55 billion euro allocated for this purpose in the period between 2021 and 2027.
“This initiative is part of the European Commission’s commitment to fight discrimination and promote diverse and inclusive workplaces,” the body stressed and concluded that announcing the winners of the first Inclusion and Diversity Awards marked the launch of 2022 European Diversity Month.