The European Broadcasting Union is honoured that the Eurovision Song Contest has been chosen to receive the 2016 Charlemagne Medal for European Media (Médaille Charlemagne pour les Médias Européens).
ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus will present the award to EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre and Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand at a ceremony on 28 April in Aachen, Germany.
Since 2000 the Charlemagne Medal has been awarded to a European personality or institution in the field of media that has contributed to European unity and the development of a European identity in a particularly significant way.
“We are thrilled to be receiving this prestigious award, precisely 60 years since the first Eurovision Song Contest was held in 1956 with the aim of uniting nations and exploring new television technology,” said EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre.
“Since then over 50 nations have taken part in this competition which reaches nearly 200 million viewers every year. We are proud that the Médaille Charlemagne Association has recognised the role that the Eurovision Song Contest continues to play in bringing together audiences across Europe and beyond.”
“The Eurovision Song Contest is the only pan-European cultural event and its longevity proves it is an important tool with which to build bridges between nations. Viewers in over 40 countries come together each year to enjoy this unique entertainment event. To be presented with this award by Björn Ulvaeus, from arguably the Contest’s most successful winners ABBA, makes it all the more special,” added Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest.
“We, the citizens of Europe, rarely get the opportunity to feel interconnected across borders. The Eurovision Song Contest presents such an opportunity,” said Michael Kayser, Chairman of the Médaille Charlemagne Association.
“The Eurovision Song Contest represents a basis for the formation of ties between individual nations,” added Dr Jürgen Linden, Chairman of the Charlemagne Medal Board of Directors.
“On the basis of a common liking of music, millions of people celebrate one idea together, an idea resulting in one song emerging victorious. National interests and differences fade into the background as we celebrate our similarities,” he concluded.
At the award ceremony on 28 April, Ingrid Deltenre and Jon Ola Sand will also take part in a panel discussion on how music has helped build European unity. They will join Thomas Schreiber from EBU Member NDR, ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus and Germany's 1982 Eurovision Song Contest winner Nicole.
The following institutions belong to the Association Médaille Charlemagne pour les Médias Européens which is giving the award: City of Aachen, City of Maastricht, German-speaking Association of Belgium, Regional Office for Media of North Rhine Westphalia (LfM), Film and Media Foundation NRW, Arte - the European cultural channel, BBC World News, Deutsche Welle, EOS Entertainment, Discovery Communications Deutschland, Euronews and the Newspaper Publishers’ Association of North Rhine Westphalia.
The association was established in 2006 on the initiative of the Regional Office for Media of North Rhine Westphalia and the City of Aachen.