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Brussels, 8 December 2008

European Capitals of Culture 2014: pre-selection meetings in Sweden and Latvia

The selection panels responsible for assessing the candidate cities for the “European Capital of Culture 2014” title will meet as of 8 December in Sweden and then in Latvia for the purposes of pre-selection. The cities pre-selected by the panel will then have to complete their application by the end of summer 2009. The two cities eventually awarded the title for 2014 – one in Sweden, the other in Latvia – will be selected next autumn.

Ján Figeľ, European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, commented: "I am delighted by the interest shown in the title in Sweden and Latvia. The European Capitals of Culture are one of the most prominent cultural events in the EU, and are characterised by their impact and reputation. The potential in terms of local development is enormous. The high standard set by the pre-selection procedures is aimed at ensuring that the European Capitals of Culture are a great success”.

In accordance with the Decision establishing the European Capital of Culture event[1], SWEDEN and LATVIA are the two Member States eligible to showcase a European Capital of Culture in 2014. As of 9 December, the authorities of the two Member States will convene the panel for a pre-selection meeting.

These pre-selection meetings will be held on 8 and 9 December in Stockholm and on 15 and 16 December in Riga.

There are four competing cities in Sweden: Uppsala, Gävle, Umea and Lund.

Latvia also has four competing cities: Riga, Cesis, Jurmala and Liepaja.

The 2014 title is the second to be governed by the new designation process put in place in 2006. This process involves selection in two stages: a pre-selection stage, after which a short-list of candidate cities is chosen, followed by a final selection nine months later. The two chosen cities should be formally designated by the EU Council of Ministers in spring 2010.

Applications will be examined by an international panel made up of thirteen members: six appointed by the Member State concerned and the remaining seven by the European Institutions. Their brief will be to examine the applications in light of the criteria laid down in the aforementioned Decision.

The members of the jury appointed by the European Institutions are as follows:

  • appointed by the European Commission: Sir Robert SCOTT, who led Liverpool’s bid to become the Capital of Culture in 2008. An expert in the culture sector (especially theatre), he is now the international ambassador of the Liverpool Culture Company; Manfred GAULHOFER, who was Executive Director of Graz 2003 and has also managed many European projects;
  • appointed by the Council: Mary McCARTHY, the Deputy Director of Cork 2005. She is currently working on one of Europe’s largest urban regeneration projects, at the Dublin Docklands Development Authority. Mary MICHAILIDOU was Director-General for Cultural Development at the Greek Ministry of Culture and has also served on the boards of several Greek museums and cultural foundations;
  • appointed by the European Parliament: Gottfried WAGNER is Director of the European Cultural Foundation, the aim of which is to promote cultural cooperation in Europe; Danuta GLONDYS, Director of the Villa Decius Association, runs many activities in the international cultural field;
  • appointed by the Committee of the Regions: Jyrki MYLLYVIRTA chairs the Commission for Culture and Education of the Committee of the Regions and is a local councillor in Finland.

Following Liverpool and Stavanger (Norway) this year, the forthcoming European Capitals of Culture will be: Linz (Austria) and Vilnius (Lithuania) in 2009, and Essen (Germany), Pécs (Hungary) and Istanbul in 2010.

For further information:

[1] Decision No 1622/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 2006.

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