EUROPA stamps emphasise cooperation within the European postal area, particularly with regards to the promotion of philately. The 2012 competition aims to encourage public awareness of some of Europe's most picturesque areas of cultural and historic importance, as well as common European roots and objectives.
The Philatelic Bureau of MaltaPost chose to highlight the Grand Harbour, an area of significant historical and geographical importance for the Maltese Islands. This natural harbour has been used since Phoencian times, and has been greatly improved over the centuries with the addition of docks and wharfs.
The chosen panoramic picture, which is taken from the Upper Barrakka Gardens, highlights the unobstructed views of the historic Three Cities opposite, with Fort St. Angelo in the centre. The photograph also shows a portion of the Gardens' Saluting Battery, which forms part of Valletta's old and unique fortifications built in 1566 by the Knights of St John, a year after the Great Siege. The 0.37 and 1.19 stamps will be submitted to the Best EUROPA Stamp Contest among all official EUROPA stamps. The contest is an annual online event where creative entries from across Europe compete for the best design. The best EUROPA stamp will be voted for by web viewers and PostEurop members. Voting is open from 1 April to 10 June 2012, and the winning stamp will be announced at the PostEurop Philatelic Forum on 13 June 2012 in Paris.