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European Commission - Press release

Nicosia and Paphos to compete for title of European Capital of Culture 2017

Nicosia, 22 December 2011 - The selection panel appointed to assess the cities applying to be European Capital of Culture in 2017 has recommended that Nicosia and Paphos are preselected as the Cypriot contenders for the 2017 title. The panel's decision was announced in Cyprus today by Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. The preselected cities will now flesh out and complete their applications by next summer for the second and final selection round.

Commissioner Vassiliou said: "I am delighted with the enthusiasm generated in Cyprus for the European Capital of Culture title and the hard work by the cities in preparing their bids. I congratulate Nicosia and Paphos for succeeding in getting through to the next round. The European Capital of Culture will provide an excellent opportunity to increase their cultural, socio-economic and tourist development. Among the keys to success in the final selection round are the European dimension of the programme, the active involvement of the public and a clear idea of the long-term cultural and social benefits the city wishes to achieve."

In accordance with the Decision of the European Parliament and Council of Ministers which sets the criteria for the European Capital of Culture event (1622/2006/EC), Cyprus and Denmark are the two Member States entitled to host a European Capital of Culture for 2017.

Cyprus invited applications from interested cities at the end of 2010. Three cities applied: Nicosia, Limassol and Paphos.

The selection panel meeting in Denmark took place on 25 November, with the panel recommending Aarhus and Sønderborg be preselected for the title.


The selection panel which makes the pre-selection recommendation consists of 13 members, seven appointed by the European institutions and six by the Member State concerned. The members selected by the European institutions are:

  • Appointed by the European Commission: Manfred Gaulhofer (Austria), Director-General of Graz 2003 and manager of many European projects; Sir Jeremy Isaacs (UK), television producer and former director of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

  • Appointed by the Council: Erna Hennicot-Schoepges (Luxembourg), former Minister for Culture, MEP and member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, currently chairwoman of many national and international cultural organisations; Constantin Chiriac (Romania), former vice-chairman of Sibiu 2007 and currently director of the national theatre Radu Stanca.

  • Appointed by the European Parliament: Andreas Wiesand (Germany), consultant and researcher in cultural policy; Danuta Glondys (Poland), director of the Villa Decius Association and of many other activities in the field of international culture.

  • Appointed by the Committee of the Regions: Elisabeth Vitouch (Austria), a member of the Committee of the Regions' Commission for Culture and local councillor in Austria.

The process for designating the European Capitals of Culture involves two selection rounds: a preselection, in which a shortlist of candidate cities is drawn up, and a final selection round nine months later. The two selected cities are then officially named by the Council of Ministers of the EU.

Future European Capital of Culture

Following Turku (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia) this year, the next Capitals of Culture will be Guimarães (Portugal) and Maribor (Slovenia) in 2012, followed by Marseille (France) and Košice (Slovakia) in 2013, Umeå (Sweden) and Riga (Latvia) in 2014, then Mons (Belgium) and Plzeň (Czech Republic) in 2015.

For more information:

Contacts :

Dennis Abbott (+32 2 295 92 58)

Dina Avraam (+32 2 295 96 67)

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