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Brussels, 8 September 2009

Umeå to be the European Capital of Culture in Sweden in 2014

The panel responsible for selecting the European Capital of Culture for 2014 recommended yesterday in Stockholm that the title be awarded to Umeå. The other Swedish city in contention was Lund. The formal nomination of Umeå by the Council of Ministers of the EU will probably be in May 2010.

Ján Figel’, European Commissioner responsible for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, said "I congratulate Umeå on its selection. Preparing to be a European Capital of Culture is always a long adventure strewn with pitfalls that Umeå has so far skilfully been able to avoid. This wonderful project must now be led by a solid team and receive all the necessary political and economic support between now and 2014. I wish Umeå all the success it so richly deserves".

Pursuant to the Decision establishing the European Capitals of Culture 1 , LATVIA and SWEDEN are the two Member States hosting a European Capital of Culture event in 2014. Latvia's European Capital of Culture for 2014 will be recommended after the final selection meeting in Riga on 15 September 2009.

The European Capitals of Culture are chosen in two phases: a preselection phase, resulting in a shortlist of cities, followed by a final selection nine months later. The two cities chosen are then officially nominated by the Council of Ministers of the EU.

The applications are examined by an international panel comprising thirteen members – six appointed by the Member State concerned and the other seven by the European Institutions – to see whether they meet the criteria set out in the above-mentioned Decision.

The cities applying for the title have to prepare a cultural programme meeting fairly strict criteria relating to the European dimension of the event and the participation of its citizens. The European dimension is illustrated via the subjects chosen and the cooperation between artists and those operating in the cultural field in various countries, working together for the event. The programme must also have a lasting impact and contribute to the long-term cultural, economic 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, who headed Liverpool's application for the title of European Capital of Culture 2008 . An expert in the culture sector (particularly the theatre), he is currently international ambassador of the Liverpool Culture Company; Manfred GAULHOFER, director-general of Graz 2003, has managed many European projects.

  • Appointed by the Council: Mary McCARTHY, deputy director of Cork 2005, currently heads the National Sculpture Factory in Cork; Mary MICHAILIDOU was director-general of cultural development in the Greek Ministry of Culture and has also been on the board of a number of museums and cultural foundations in Greece.

  • Appointed by the European Parliament: Andreas Wiesand, consultant and researcher in the field of cultural policy and activities; Danuta GLONDYS, head of the Villa Decius association, which runs many activities in the field of international culture.

  • Appointed by the Committee of the Regions: Jyrki MYLLYVIRTA represents the Commission for Culture, Education and Research of the Committee of the Regions and is a local politician in Finland.

Following Linz (Austria) and Vilnius (Lithuania) this year, the future European Capitals of Culture will be: Essen (Germany), Pécs (Hungary) and Istanbul (Turkey) in 2010; Tallinn (Estonia) and Turku (Finland) in 2011; Guimaeres (Portugal) and Maribor (Slovenia) in 2012; and Marseille (France) and Kosice (Slovakia) in 2013.

To find out more:

1 :

Decision No 1622/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 2006

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