Being shortlisted for the European Capital of Culture 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.
Once the relevant Slovenian authorities formally endorse the panel’s recommendation, cities will have until next autumn to complete their applications. The panel will then meet again in Ljubljana in December 2020 to recommend the Slovenian city to become the European Capital of Culture 2025.
In 2025, Slovenia will host the European Capital of Culture for the second time, after Maribor in 2012. In the same year, there will also be a European Capital of Culture in Germany. The pre-selection round in Germany took place in December 2019 and five cities were short-listed: Chemnitz, Hannover, Hildesheim, Magdeburg and Nurnberg.
Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland) are the European Capitals of Culture in 2020. Elefsina (Greece), Timisoara (Romania) and Novi Sad (Serbia) will be European Capitals of Culture in 2021, Kaunas (Lithuania) and Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg) in 2022, Veszprém (Hungary) in 2023, Tartu (Estonia), Bad Ischl (Austria) and Bodo (Norway) in 2024.
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 approximately nine months later. The selected city is then officially designated by the Member State concerned.
A panel composed of 12 independent experts examine the applications. Ten experts are appointed by the European Union institutions and bodies (European Parliament, Council, Commission and Committee of the Regions) and the other two, by the relevant Slovenian authorities.
The selection criteria state that cities should prepare a cultural programme with a strong European dimension, which fosters the participation of the city’s stakeholders as well as its various neighbourhoods and attracts visitors from the whole country and Europe. The programme must have a lasting impact and contribute to the long-term development of the city. The cities must also show that they have the support from the relevant public local authorities and the capacity to deliver the project.
Born in 1985 from an idea of the then Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, the European Capitals of Culture have grown into one of the most ambitious cultural projects in Europe and one of the best known – and most appreciated – activities of the EU. Their objectives are to promote the diversity of cultures in Europe, to highlight the common features they share and to foster the contribution of culture to the long-term development of cities.