The Charlemagne Prize for European achievement, usually awarded to a single person, is to be awarded twice in 2004.
The prize will be awarded to Pope John Paul II to pay tribute to his life's work promoting European understanding in the service of humanity and world peace, and the ceremony in the Vatican will be attended by Pat Cox, MEP and President of the European Parliament..
On May 20, Cox will receive the International Charlemagne Prize in Aachen, Germany, in recognition of his contribution to European integration and, in particular, his work in securing the historic enlargement to take place on May 1 this year.
Cox paid tribute to the tremendous contribution Pope John Paul II has made in fostering European unity: "The 25 years of the pontificate of Karol Wojtyla have been years of remarkable renewal and redefinition for Europe.
"On May 1, Europe will grow together again when, with enlargement, the Union will embrace eight new countries from Central and Eastern Europe along with Malta and Cyprus.
"Pope John Paul II has been a chief architect of this new Europe that is emerging, a Europe at peace with itself and with others, founded on shared values and united at last."
The International Charlemagne Prize was established by the city of Aachen in 1949 and is given in recognition of services to European peace and unity.
Previous Charlemagne Prize winners include Jean Monnet, Konrad Adenauer, Winston Churchill, Edward Heath, Lord Jenkins, Henry Kissinger, Dr Helmut Kohl and Vaclav Havel.
More recently, the award has been given to the President of the European Convention Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 2003, to the European Central Bank and its President Wim Duisenberg in 2002, to Bill Clinton, US President in 2000, and to Tony Blair, British Prime Minister in 1999.