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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 12 October 2012

Valletta to be the European Capital of Culture in Malta in 2018

The Maltese capital of Valletta was recommended today for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2018 by an independent selection panel. The formal nomination of Valletta by the EU's Council of Ministers will take place in May 2013.

Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, stated: "I congratulate Valletta on its successful bid. I am happy to see the enthusiasm generated in Malta for the European Capital of Culture title. I am confident that Valletta will develop an exciting programme of events with a strong European dimension and that the title can bring significant long-term cultural, economic and social benefits for the city and its surrounding area. I wish every success to Valletta."


Bidding cities are assessed on the basis of criteria laid down by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. These criteria state that the cities should prepare a cultural programme with a strong European dimension and foster the participation of citizens living in the city, its neighbourhood and the whole country.

The European dimension is reflected in the chosen themes and the way in which the events in the programme are organised. Cooperation between cultural operators in different EU countries is encouraged. The programme must also have a lasting impact and contribute to the long-term cultural and social development of the city.

The Netherlands and Malta are the two Member States hosting a European Capital of Culture in 2018. The list of countries hosting the title until 2019 was laid down in a decision of the European Parliament and Council of Ministers in 2006. The Commission recently proposed countries to host European Capitals of Culture after 2019 (IP/12/815).

Valletta was the only city to apply for the title in Malta. The application was examined by a panel made up of 13 independent cultural experts - six appointed by the Member State concerned and the remaining seven by the European institutions (see list of European members below). They assessed the application on the basis of the criteria laid down by the European Parliament and Council decision.

The pre-selection phase in the Netherlands will take place in November and the final selection round is planned for summer 2013. The two cities chosen (one per country) are then officially designated by the EU's Council of Ministers.

The members of the panel appointed by the European institutions are:

  • Appointed by the European Commission: Sir Jeremy Isaacs (United Kingdom) a television executive and a former Director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Manfred Gaulhofer (AT), Director-General of Graz 2003, who has managed many European projects.

  • Appointed by the Council: Erna Hennicot-Schoepges (Luxembourg), former Member of the European Parliament, of the Council of Europe Assembly and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), currently heads various national and international cultural organisations; Constantin Chiriac (Romania), Vice President of Sibiu 2007 and currently director of national theatre Radu Stanca.

  • Appointed by the European Parliament: Jordi Pardo (Spain), responsible for cultural projects in the field of international culture; Steve Green (United Kingdom), consultant and researcher in cultural policy.

  • Appointed by the Committee of the Regions: Elisabeth Vitouch (Austria), represents the Commission for Culture and Education of the Committee of the Regions and is a member of the Vienna City government.

  • Following Guimarães (Portugal) and Maribor (Slovenia) this year, Marseille (France) and Košice (Slovakia) will be European Capitals of Culture in 2013; Umeå (Sweden) and Riga (Latvia) in 2014, Mons (Belgium) and Plzen (Czech Republic) in 2015, Wrocław (Poland) and Donastia-San Sebastián (Spain) in 2016. Aarhus (Denmark) and Paphos (Cyprus) have been proposed by the expert panel as European Capitals of Culture in 2017.

For more information

European Commission: European Capitals of Culture website

Androulla Vassiliou's website

Follow Androulla Vassiliou onTwitter @VassiliouEU

Contacts :

Dennis Abbott (+32 2 295 92 58); Twitter: @DennisAbbott

Dina Avraam (+32 2 295 96 67)

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