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Brussels, 13 June 2007

European Capitals of Culture 2011 : Turku and Tallinn approved by the selection panel

After hearing the presentations made by the two cities applying to be designated European Capitals of Culture for 2011 on 4 June, the European selection panel[1] today publishes its report, recommending that Turku (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia) be approved. The decision will be taken by the Council for Culture, probably in the second half of 2007, under the Portuguese Presidency.

Ján Figel’, the Member of the European Commission for Education, Culture and Youth declared : « I am delighted that Turku and Tallinn have already started preparations to become successful European Capitals of Culture in 2011 ".

Sir Robert Scott, the chairman of the panel, stressed that preparing an application triggered a phase of intensive work which had to continue until the start of the year concerned and had to involve all levels of political responsibility in the Member States in question.

The city of Turku has built its programme for 2011 around the theme "Turku on fire". This refers to the many fires which ravaged the city over the course of its history and, most importantly, to its intensive creative and artistic activity.

The Estonian capital, Tallinn, highlighted its desire to create cultural centres to drive urban development. It is keen to show that a fairly small city can, with a vibrant cultural life, take up the challenge of being designated a European Capital of Culture.

The two cities have now announced that they will cooperate actively in preparing and conducting their programmes, especially as they are so close geographically..

In 2012, the European Capitals of Culture will be from Portugal and Slovenia.

For more detailed information and the full report of the selection panel, please consult:

[1] Members of the selection panel : Sir B Scott, Mr J Pascual, Mr G Wagner, Ms D Glondys, Dr T Angyan, Mr S Kimanen

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