Have you always wanted to follow in the footsteps of the Emperor Charlemagne but couldn’t quite bring yourself to behead Saxons and slog through The City of God? Then you, my friend, are in luck: If you’re an EU citizen between the ages of 16 and 30, you still have time to enter the European Charlemagne Youth Prize Competition. Whether you’re the role model they’re looking for to “promote the European and international understanding” or you just don’t mind faking it to pocket several thousand Euros, you need to get cracking on your proposal. Just be warned that if you do happen to win the Karlspreis für die Jugend, they make you earn it: you have to visit the European Parliament.
For what it’s worth, the “Charlemagne” column of The Economist has already chosen its own European of the Year. Their choice isn’t an obvious one—it’s not a world leader, a cultural figure, an artist, or a politician—but it does provide, as the column asserts, “a striking snapshot of European aspirations, anxieties and foibles.” The magazine’s proposed ambassador for Europe may be a bit plastic, but I will say this for him: he’s always sure to greet you with a smile.