Pilsen to be the European Capital of Culture in the Czech Republic in 2015

9 September 2010

The panel responsible for selecting the European Capital of Culture for 2015 in the Czech Republic recommended yesterday in Prague that the title be awarded to Pilsen. The other Czech city still in contention was Ostrava. The formal nomination of Pilsen by the Council of Ministers will probably take place in May 2011. Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for education, culture, multilingualism and youth, stated: "I am very happy to see so much enthusiasm in the Czech Republic for the 2015 title. Pilsen presented a high quality bid, full of energy and creativity. I am confident that Pilsen will prepare an exciting programme of events, with a strong European dimension, which will appeal to the public at large. I wish every success to Pilsen. In accordance with the 2006 decision establishing the European Capital of Culture, the Czech Republic and Belgium will be the two host Member States in 2015. In February 2010, Mons was recommended by the panel as European Capital of Culture for Belgium. The European Capitals of Culture are chosen in two phases: a pre-selection phase, resulting in a shortlist of cities, followed by a final selection nine months later. The two cities chosen are then officially designated by the Council of Ministers of the EU. Applications are examined by a European panel made up of 13 independent cultural experts, six appointed by the Member State concerned and the other seven by the European institutions. The cities vying for the title are required to prepare a cultural programme which highlights the European dimension of the event and fosters the participation of citizens living in the city and its surroundings, as well as interest from abroad. The European dimension is reflected in the chosen themes and cooperation between cultural artists from various countries, working together for the event. The programme must also have a lasting impact and contribute to the long-term cultural and social development of the city. The members of the panel appointed by the European institutions are: • Appointed by the European Commission: Sir Robert Scott (UK) who headed Liverpool's successful application to be European Capital of Culture in 2008. An expert in the culture sector, he is currently the international ambassador of the Liverpool Culture Company; Manfred Gaulhofer (AT), director-general of Graz 2003, has managed many European projects. • Appointed by the Council: Erna Hennicot-Schoepges (LU), former member of the European Parliament, of the Council of Europe assembly and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), currently heads various national and international cultural organisations; Constantin Chiriac (RO), vice-president of Sibiu 2007 and currently director of national theatre Radu Stanca. • Appointed by the European Parliament: Andreas Wiesand (DE), consultant and researcher in the field of cultural policy and activities; Danuta Glondys (PL), head of the Villa Decius association, which runs many activities in the field of international culture. • Appointed by the Committee of the Regions: Elisabeth Vitouch (AT), represents the Commission for Culture and Education of the Committee of the Regions and is a member of the Vienna City government. Following Essen for the Ruhr (Germany), Pécs (Hungary) and Istanbul (Turkey) this year, the future European Capitals of Culture will be: Tallinn (Estonia) and Turku (Finland) in 2011; Guimarães (Portugal) and Maribor (Slovenia) in 2012; Marseille (France) and Kosice (Slovakia) in 2013 and Umeå (Sweden) and Riga (Latvia) in 2014. To find out more: (Source: EU press release)