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Brussels, 15 September 2009

Riga to be the European Capital of Culture in Latvia in 2014

The panel responsible for selecting the European Capital of Culture for 2014 recommended yesterday in Riga that the title be awarded to Riga. The other Latvian cities still in contention were Cesis and Liepaja. The formal nomination of Riga by the EU Council of Ministers will probably be in May 2010.

Ján Figel’, the Member of the European Commission responsible for education, training, culture and youth, commented as follows: “I am delighted with Riga’s success and would like to congratulate the local authorities and the team that prepared the application. Riga has great potential for being the European Capital of Culture. Bearing this title for one year will certainly place this city in the spotlight and create enormous potential for it to develop locally and raise its profile across Europe. But success will not be automatic: to benefit fully, Riga will have to develop its programme for 2014 and be given all the political and economic support needed. This is the beginning of a great adventure!”

Pursuant to the Decision establishing the European Capitals of Culture 1 , LATVIA and SWEDEN will be the two Member States hosting a European Capital of Culture in 2014. On 8 September Umeå was recommended as the European Capital of Culture for Sweden.

The European Capitals of Culture are chosen in two phases: a pre-selection 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.

Applications are 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. They have to examine the applications on the basis of the criteria laid down in the above-mentioned Decision.

The cities vying 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 by the subjects chosen and the cooperation between artists and players in the cultural field in various countries, all 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 theatre), he is currently the 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 and Education of the Committee of the Regions and is a local councillor 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; Guimarães (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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