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According to documents, officials want to order almost 3,000 gold and silver “honorary medals with cases” to be handed out by the European Parliament. The award is a “reproduction of a coin from Tyrus, which was minted towards the middle of the third century A.D. under the reign of Emperor Valerian I”.
“The coin depicts the first ever image of Europa, slender and symbolic, draped in a cloak, with her name inscribed at the bottom of the coin in Greek letters. Europa is facing front, holding a vase of flowers in her left hand, with her right hand on her hip symbolising abundance and fertility,” according to the official tender document.
“To the left of the figure there are rocks flowing with ambrosia, in the middle of which are some olive branches.
“Jupiter, who is smitten with Europa, lays at her feet, represented by a bull emerging from the flow.”
The original coin, from modern-day Tyre, a city in South Lebanon, is on display in the British Museum in London.
On the reserve of the EU’s recreation, space will be left “for the name of the recipient”.
“The medal must compromise the reproduction of this ancient coin on the face, and a very fine, high-quality engraving of ‘Parlamentum Europæum’ on the back along with the European Parliament’s logo,” the memo adds.
Officials want to place an order for 1,205 gold-plated medals and 1,650 silver versions.
The presentation cases must be “pebbled leather” in a specific shade of blue “with a hot-stamped” European Parliament logo”.
Manufacturers have until September 30 to submit an application for the business.
As the medals will be purchased before the end of the Brexit transition period, UK taxpayers could be on the hook for around £45,000.
Under Boris Johnson’s EU Withdrawal Agreement, Britain will continue to honour its payments to the bloc’s long-term budget, which it agreed to as a member state.
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The official documentation does not make clear what the medals will be used for once they are delivered to either Brussels, Strasbourg or Luxembourg.
The EU Parliament has a series of awards it hands out for services to the bloc.
Its website says: “The European Parliament doesn’t only legislate. It also likes to promote what is good. Every year it issues four prizes in recognition of excellence in human rights, cinema, youth projects and good citizenship.
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“It is an opportunity to put the spotlight on those people and organisations who work hard to make our world a little better and encourage others to follow their example.”
The coveted “European Charlemagne Youth Prize – for all very motivated young Europeans” also comes with a cash bounty of up to £4,500 for the best project.
Former British MEPs, who lost their jobs on January 31 when the UK left the bloc, were issued a certificate commemorating their service and a book on European history, worth around £40 in the Parliament’s official gift shop.
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