Brussels, 18 January 2013
European Capital of Culture: Commissioner Vassiliou opens Košice 2013 with Slovak President and Prime Minister
European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou will join the President of the Slovak Republic, Ivan Gašparovič, Prime Minister Robert Fico, Culture Minister Marek Maďarič and Mayor Richard Raši in Košice on 20 January to mark the official launch of the city's year as 2013 European Capital of Culture. They will be accompanied by the Slovak Vice-President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič.
"This is a very special moment for Košice, which is the first city to hold the title of European Capital of Culture in Slovakia. I am sure that the city, region and the country will seize this opportunity to boost long-term development and make the most of the cultural, economic and social benefits that the Year will bring. As well as enjoying increased international visibility, I hope that the Year will also be a chance for the city to cement a feeling of belonging to the EU among its citizens. I wish Košice every success," said Commissioner Vassiliou.
The Commissioner will arrive in Košice on 19 January and visit several exhibitions and cultural events. They include an exhibition presenting work by students from the Faculty of Fine Arts and a fashion show featuring three Slovak designers – Sewologylab, Izabela Komjati and Vlasta Žáková. She will also attend a performance by three outstanding Slovak solo musicians - Peter Breiner, Boris Lenko and Stano Palúch - combining classical, jazz and South American influences.
The opening ceremony will take place in the State Theatre of Košice on 20 January where Commissioner Vassiliou will give a keynote address. The theme of the ceremony will be based on the idea of a 'Košice space programme' aimed at launching a 'cultural satellite' into the space. The opening show will be web streamed live on a dedicated website.
During her visit, the Commissioner will take part in a meeting with local political leaders, including Zdenko Trebuľa, the President of the Self-Governing Region of Košice, to discuss the role of culture in the long-term development of Slovakia.
Beyond the opening ceremony, the programme for the year in Košice will include numerous cultural events, ranging from festivals, exhibitions, plays, workshops, art installations and debates. It will further profile the city as a crossing of old routes between East and West.
Košice shares the title of European Capital of Culture with Marseille in France, which launched its year as 2013 European Capital of Culture on 12-13 January in the presence of European Commission President José Manual Barroso.
The total budget for the city's year as European Capital of Culture is expected to reach around €94 million. Of this, the EU will contribute €57.3 million through support from the Structural Funds and the €1.5 million 'Melina Mercouri Prize' provided by the EU Culture Programme.
In addition, Slovak cultural operators have received a further €1.2 million from the Culture Programme in the period 2007-2011 as project leaders. Among the initiatives which have received support from the programme is one in the Košice region aimed at highlighting the European dimension of the Romani language and culture, as well as increasing solidarity, minority representation and human rights of Roma through the audio-visual media. The project, which is led by a Hungarian foundation, received €1.5 million and is expected to result in a series of information DVDs as well as a book and dictionary of the Romani language. The Kosice-based foundation Nadacia Dobra Romska Vila Kesaj is the main Slovak partner in the project, which also involves organisations from Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and France.
For more information
Košice - European Capital of Culture http://www.kosice2013.sk/en
European Commission: Education and training
Follow Androulla Vassiliou on Twitter @VassiliouEU