European Capital of Culture: Commissioner Vassiliou congratulates Spainish cities preselected

26 October 2010

At its four-day meeting in Madrid, the selection panel appointed to assess the cities applying to be a European Capital of Culture in 2016 recommended that the following be preselected from a fiercely competitive field: Burgos, Córdoba, Donostia-San Sebastián, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Segovia and Zaragoza. Once this recommendation has been ratified by Spain, the preselected cities will have to flesh out and complete their applications by the summer of 2011. Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: ‘I would like to congratulate Burgos, Córdoba, Donostia-San Sebastián, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Segovia and Zaragoza on their nomination following the first round of the competition for the title of Capital of Culture 2016 in Spain. I am very pleased with the quality of the many applications we received, which shows the high level of interest in this European initiative. This event provides an exceptional opportunity for the long-term development of the cities concerned, not only in terms of culture but also in terms of tourism and socio-economic development. The preselected cities will be required to demonstrate the European dimension of their project and their ability to place culture at the heart of their long-term development.’ In accordance with the Decision on the European Capital of Culture event, Spain and Poland will be the two Member States hosting a European Capital of Culture in 2016. The preselection meeting in Poland will be held in mid-October. Spain published a call for applications from interested cities at the end of 2009. Fifteen cities presented their bids to the panel: Alcalá de Henares, Burgos, Cáceres, Córdoba, Cuenca, Donostia-San Sebastián, Málaga, Murcia, Oviedo, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Pamplona, Santander, Segovia, Tarragona and Zaragoza. Their applications were examined on the basis of the criteria established in the above-mentioned Decision by an international panel consisting of 13 members: six appointed by Spain and the remaining seven by the European institutions. The panel members appointed by the European institutions are: • Nominated by the European Commission: Sir Robert Scott (United Kingdom), who headed Liverpool's successful application to be a 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 (Austria), director-general of Graz 2003, who has managed many European projects. • Nominated by the Council: Erna Hennicot-Schoepges (Luxembourg), former member of the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), who currently heads various national and international cultural organisations; Constantin Chiriac (Romania), vice-president of Sibiu 2007 and currently director of the Romanian national theatre "Radu Stanca". • Nominated by the European Parliament: Andreas Wiesand (Germany), consultant and researcher in the field of cultural policy and activities; Danuta Glondys (Poland), head of the Villa Decius association, which runs many activities in the field of international culture. • Nominated by the Committee of the Regions: Elisabeth Vitouch (Austria), who represents the Commission for Culture and Education of the Committee of the Regions and is a member of the Vienna City Council. Under the present procedure for designating the European Capitals of Culture, selection takes place in two stages: following this preselection stage, during which a shortlist of applicant cities is drawn up, the panel will make the final selection in summer 2011. The selected Spanish city will then be officially designated by the EU Council of Ministers at its meeting in May 2012. Following Essen for the Ruhr (Germany), Pécs (Hungary) and Istanbul (Turkey) this year, the future European Capitals of Culture will be Turku (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia) in 2011, Guimarães (Portugal) and Maribor (Slovenia) in 2012, Marseille (France) and Košice (Slovakia) in 2013, and Umeå (Sweden) and Riga (Latvia) in 2014. Further information: (Source: European Commission website)