Brussels, 17 October 2014
Matera to be 2019 European Capital of Culture in Italy
The selection panel of independent experts responsible for assessing the Italian cities competing to be European Capital of Culture in 2019 has recommended that Matera should be awarded the title. The other five cities short-listed after the initial pre-selection round in November 2013 were Cagliari, Lecce, Perugia, Ravenna and Siena. The formal designation of Matera by the EU's Council of Ministers is expected to take place next year.
Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for culture, stated: "I congratulate Matera on its successful bid. The competition for the title in Italy was one of the strongest ever, with 21 initial contenders narrowed down to six finalists. This number is a testimony of the immense popularity of this European Union initiative. I am confident that Matera will attract more visitors from Europe and all over the world to discover the city, its history and the cultural diversity which is one of strengths of our continent. I am convinced that the title will bring Matera and its surrounding area significant long-term cultural, economic and social benefits, as we have seen with previous European Capitals of Culture."
In accordance with the Decision of the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers, which sets out the criteria for the European Capital of Culture, Bulgaria and Italy are the two Member States which will share the title in 2019. The final selection in Bulgaria took place in September, with the panel recommending that Plovdiv should be awarded the title.
The criteria state that cities should prepare a cultural programme with a strong European dimension, which fosters the participation of citizens in the city, its neighbourhood and the whole country. The programme must have a lasting impact and contribute to the long-term cultural and social development of the city.
The European dimension is reflected in the chosen themes and in the way events in the programme are organised. Cooperation between cultural operators in different EU countries is encouraged.
The process for selecting a European Capital of Culture begins with a pre-selection phase after which an initial shortlist of bidding cities is drawn up. The final selection takes place nine months later. The city chosen by the panel is then officially designated by the EU's Council of Ministers.
The panel assessing the cities is made up of 13 independent cultural experts - six appointed by the Member State and seven by the European institutions.
The members of the panel appointed by the European institutions currently are:
Following Umeå (Sweden) and Riga (Latvia) this year, Mons (Belgium) and Plzen (Czech Republic) will be European Capitals of Culture in 2015, Wrocław (Poland) and Donastia San Sebastián (Spain) in 2016, Aarhus (Denmark) and Paphos (Cyprus) in 2017 and Valletta (Malta) and Leeuwarden (Netherlands) in 2018.
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