Britain's the Darkness is among the European Union bands that received a Border Breakers Award during the inaugural ceremony Sunday in Cannes.

Britain's the Darkness is among the European Union bands that received a Border Breakers Award during the inaugural ceremony Sunday in Cannes.

Other acts to win awards were the Thrills (representing Ireland), Las Ketchup (Spain), Carla Bruni (France), Masterplan (Germany), Tiziano Ferro (Italy), Lasgo (Belgium), Saybia (Denmark) and Mariza (Portugal).

The Border Breakers Awards were created and sponsored by the European Commission, the EU's executive body. They recognize the debut albums from EU acts that have sold the most copies outside their country of origin between November 2002 and November 2003. The awards are based on data supplied by Billboard Information Group.

The honors were presented during a ceremony attended by officials from the European Commission and several EU countries, including French minister of culture Jean-Jacques Aillagon and Danish minister of culture Bran Mikkelsen. Ferro, Lasgo, Masterplan and Mariza were present to pick up their awards.

Nikolaus Van der Pas, director general at the EC's directorate general for education and culture, told Midem delegates that the prize "is not just one more award--it is intended to highlight the development of a European identity."

He added, "It is also a special award in that we hope it will draw more attention from political authorities toward music. Music is far from being a priority at a European level, and we hope this event will help change that."