Upon demand of Ukraine Postal administration (UkrPoshta), the original topic of this year’s Europa stamp (underwater world) was postponed to 2024 and replaced by an issue dedicated to “Peace: the highest value of mankind”. A contest was organized among all participating countries (28 countries did participate) and a common design was approved on the basis of the Post Luxembourg proposal created by artists Linda Bos and Runa Egilsdottir. It represents multicolored interwoven hearts inspired by a prehistoric Celtic knot ornament, completed by shaking hands. The motif shows a new peace symbol as a metaphor for a peaceful and cooperative society where people embrace each other’s cultures. The design was approved during the PostEurop General Assembly in Dublin on October 5, 2022. At this stage already more than 60 postal administrations have issued or will participate to this common issue.
As usual these stamps were issued on May 9, 2023. On that date, 33 countries issued their stamp(s): Aland – Andorra (Spanish) – Azores – Bosnia Herzegovina – Bosnia Herzegovina (Croatia) – Croatia – Cyprus – Czech Republic – Faroe – Finland – France – Greece – Hungary – Ireland – Italy – Jersey – Latvia – Liechtenstein – Lithuania – Madeira – Malta – Monaco – Montenegro – Netherlands – Norway – Portugal – Romania – San Marino – Serbia – Slovakia – Spain – Switzerland – Turkey
Before that date, another 10 countries had already issued their own stamps: Austria (May 5) – Bosnia Herzegovina (Serbia) (April 28) – Cyprus (Turkish) (May 3) – Denmark (May 4) – Germany (May 4) – Gibraltar (March 30) – Macedonia (North) (May 10) – Moldova (April 28) – Poland (April 25) – Sweden (April 27)
In the meantime, another group of 9 countries issued also their stamps while a few others have already announced a date for the release of their stamps within the next weeks: Belgium (June 12) – Bulgaria (May 26) – Estonia (May 25) – Greenland (May 30) – Guernsey (May 24) – Luxembourg (May 16) – Nagorno Karabakh (May 24) – Slovenia (May 26) – Ukraine (May 26) – Vatican (May 16)
Based on previous years issues, the following other countries may also participate, but no information is available so far: Albania – Armenia – Artsakh (Armenia) – Azerbaijan – Georgia – Isle of Man and Kazakhstan. Russia and Belarus have been suspended from the PostEurop Union and were not allowed to participate to this issue.
Kosovo is the only country that did not issue stamps with the same design, without real explanations (however, Kosovo’s stamps date of issue remaind May 9, 2023). Even the private Post Beepost issued stamps for Estonia, Finland and Lithuania using the common design, as early as February 24, 2023, but this special status and the non-belonging to the UPU excludes these stamps from being part of the joint issue.
A lot of countries (actually already 25) issued a second stamp in parallel, very often their design proposal that was not accepted during the contest. If not issued as stamp, those designs may appear as a cachet on the FDC cover. Here some examples:
Stamps are issued in miniature sheets of very often 8, 10 or 12 stamps, while some countries also created additional souvenir sheets. Bulgaria even issued a postal stationery (postal card). Here are some examples.
Special note: excluding private posts from the official list of participating countries on the basis of their belonging to the UPU cannot be strictly followed. All these borderline postal administrations (on an UPU belonging basis) remain reported in the catalogue abnd left to the collector to decide if they keep them or not in their collection. In fact, Turkish Cyprus, Nagorno Karabakh or Artsakh for examples do not belong to UPU either. This limitation rule is mainly applied in stamp exhibitions and some collectors may hit some critics if showing such stamps. The news here is that Russia and Belarus have been excluded from PostEurop. Should such rule also apply to these countries. I doubt. So let us continue collecting Russia and Belarus stamps as well.
A big thank to Euroswiss from which blog (https://europa-stamps.blogspot.com/) a lot of information allowed to complete the above data. The catalogue will be updated soon.
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