Brussels, 12 December 2013
Four Bulgarian cities short-listed for European Capital of Culture 2019
The selection panel evaluating applications from Bulgarian cities competing for the title of European Capital of Culture 2019 met in Sofia from 10-12 December and recommended today that Plovdiv, Sofia, Varna and Veliko Turnovo should be short-listed. Once this recommendation has been confirmed by Bulgaria, the cities have until next summer to complete their applications. The selection panel will meet again in the third quarter of 2014 to recommend which city which will be the European Capital of Culture.
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: "I am very pleased to see that eight Bulgarian cities took part in the competition to be the first European Capital of Culture in Bulgaria. I warmly congratulate the four cities which have been nominated following the first round of the competition. Just being shortlisted for the title can result in significant cultural, economic and social benefits for the cities concerned, provided that their bid is part of a longer-term culture-led development strategy. The Capitals are an opportunity for Europeans to learn more about each other and to enjoy their shared history and values: in other words, to experience the feeling of belonging to the same European community. I encourage all of the pre-selected cities to make the best of this project."
In accordance with the Decision of the European Parliament and Council of Ministers which sets the criteria for the European Capital of Culture1, Bulgaria and Italy are the two Member States hosting the event in 2019. The pre-selection round in Italy took place in November (IP/13/1092).
Following Marseille (France) and Košice (Slovakia) this year, Umeå (Sweden) and Riga (Latvia) will be European Capitals of Culture in 2014, Mons (Belgium) and Plzen (Czech Republic) in 2015, Wrocław (Poland) and Donastia-San Sebastián (Spain) in 2016, Aarhus (Denmark) and Paphos (Cyprus) in 2017 and Valletta (Malta) in 2018. Leeuwarden (Netherlands) has been proposed as European Capital of Culture in 2018.
Bulgaria invited applications from interested cities at the end of 2012. Eight Bulgarian cities applied: Burgas, Gabrovo, Plovdiv, Ruse, Shumen, Sofia, Varna and Veliko Turnovo.
The applications were examined by a panel composed of 13 independent cultural experts - six appointed by Bulgaria and seven by the European Union institutions.
The members of the panel appointed by the European Union institutions currently are:
According to the current system for designating the European Capitals of Culture, the selection has two rounds: a pre-selection round, following which a shortlist of candidate cities is drawn up, and a final selection round nine months later. The selected cities are then officially designated by the Council of Ministers of the EU.
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Decision No 1622/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 2006