Where: Marseille, France
Topic: Culture, education and youth
On 12 January Commission President José Manuel Barroso will participate in the opening ceremony of "Marseille-Provence 2013 – European Capital of Culture" at the Musée des Civilisations d'Europe et de Méditerranée" (MUCEM).
The opening events will take place on 12 and 13 January and will kick-off a year-long cultural programme, which is expected to attract visitors from across Europe and beyond to experience the city and its surrounding region. The launch will include four main highlights: the opening of a contemporary art exhibition in Aix-en-Provence, a public celebration in Marseille, a treasure hunt in Marseille-Provence and a fireworks display in Arles to close the opening week-end.
The European Capitals of Culture is the one of the EU's best known cultural initiatives. Its aim is to promote and celebrate Europe's rich cultural diversity and heritage, as well as to promote mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue. The European Capitals of Culture are also an opportunity for cities to boost tourism, jobs and growth, and to transform their image.
A successful Capital which embeds culture as part of a long-term development strategy can bring significant long-term cultural, economic and social benefits. On average it leads to a 12% increase in tourism and millions of visits to cultural events, with strong benefits for the retail, hotel and catering sectors. The initiative can also be a catalyst for regeneration and new cultural infrastructure, as well as promoting new skills for cultural operators and strengthening a city's cultural vibrancy and international outlook.
Since 2010, each European Capital of Culture meeting the commitments it made at the selection stage receives the Melina Mercouri Prize, worth €1.5 million. In addition, many Capitals benefit from additional funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
Lille was the last French city to host the title in 2004. Lille 2004 created a very positive legacy for the city, the region and local culture. Other previous French European Capitals of Culture include Paris in 1989 and Avignon in 2000. Košice in Slovakia will also share the title of European Capital of Culture in 2013.
Commission President José Manuel Barroso will give a speech at the opening ceremony of "Marseille-Provence 2013 – European Capital of Culture" at the Musée des Civilisations d'Europe et de Méditerranée (MUCEM).