This morning, at the invitation of Vice-President Anna Maria Darmanin, I replaced the President (who is in Istanbul, at a meeting of the Committee’s EU-Turkey Joint Consultative Committee) in the EESC’s Communication Group in order to update members on the running of the Committee’s civil society prize. You can read about the prize – worth up to 20,000 euros – here. The basic idea is to recognise and reward civil society projects and initiatives that help underpin the integration process by making a valuable contribution to the community. This year, as the President’s spokesperson, Coralia Catana, explained, the chosen theme – so very appropriate given all that is going on at the moment – is ‘Dialogue and participation fostering EU values: integration, diversity, solidarity and tolerance.’  The deadline for candidatures is 7 October. There is an application form and a description of the application and selection procedures at the above link, so if you know a civil society organisation that you think deserves to be recognised and rewarded, please take a look. The prizes will be awarded in the Committee’s 7-8 December plenary session.