7 December 2016
Press release: Antonella Candiago from Italy, 1st prize winner of the PES Group's 2016 photo competition "Imagine Europe without borders"

Press release: Antonella Candiago from Italy, 1st prize winner of the PES Group's 2016 photo competition "Imagine Europe without borders"

Today, ahead of the European Committee of the Regions' plenary session, the PES Group awarded prizes to the winners of the 7th edition of its annual photo competition. Under the theme "Imagine Europe without borders", both amateur and professional photographers, who are European residents aged 18 and older, were invited to capture in a photo their interpretation of this very topical issue.

The first prize goes to Antonella Candiago from San Giustina, Veneto region, Italy, who wins a 3-day trip for two persons to Brussels and photographic equipment worth €2000.

"Each year's photo competition leaves us more and more impressed with the creative potential of Europeans from all over the EU", pointed out Olga Zrihen, Member of the Wallonia Parliament (Belgium) and President of the 2016 competition jury. "This year's entries demonstrate that citizens are concerned about the new borders that are currently built in Europe, be it physical or social borders, or the ones in our heads. At the same time, they show that only by entering into dialogue with the others can we recognize that diversity makes us stronger. We need to dare more Europe and more social justice".

Commenting on her photo, Antonella Candiago said: "I believe that borders are primarily in the mind. These are the prejudices and fears that we have against something that we don’t know, that looks different from us and that does not fit into "our space". Physical borders can be broken down only if we first manage to break down mental borders and if we find the courage to see that what appears to be far away from our reality, is instead part of our world."

"I think that knowledge, culture and education play a fundamental role in creating a Europe without borders. If you look at the world with curiosity from different perspectives, you cannot be afraid of what lies beyond the wall. This is what my photograph is trying to get across: books, representing knowledge, form a kind of staircase enabling each one of us to see over the wall and thus over all physical, and particularly mental barriers.

The winners of this year's competition are:

1st Prize: Antonella Candiago (20 years old, San Giustina, Italy)
2nd Prize: Bernardina Cerlek (33 years old, Metković, Croatia)
3rd Prize: Milada Kotorová (58 years old, Kežmarok, Slovakia)
Public Prize: Manuel Delgado (25 years old, Cartaya, Spain)

See the winning pictures on the photo competition initiative page