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European Commission looks toward extending European Capitals of Culture 2020 into 2021

The rethink is a direct consequence of the coronavirus pandemic

  • August 19, 2020 21:30
  • Author Anton Stoyanov
Medium margaritis schinas
Source: Hearing of Margaritis Schinas (Greece) - Protecting our European way of life by European Parliament on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The European Commission has proposed to extend the titles for European Capital of Culture 2020 until 31 April 2021. The unprecedented move comes as a direct response to the coronavirus pandemic and the effects it has had on public life across the continent, as well as on the cities that have worked tirelessly to earn the prestigious recognition over the years.

Solidarity and compromise at the very heart of European decisions

In a statement released by the European Commission, the EU executive details its communication history with European Capitals of Culture for the years 2020-2023 since the pandemic first started. The goal of officials has been to understand the impact that the disease has had not only on the preparations for its implementations but also on the carrying out of already planned and scheduled events.

Thus, in accordance with the new proposal, the cities of Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland) will be granted an extension to their activities so that they can make full use of the year as European Capitals of Culture. Furthermore, the proposal includes a postponement of the year in which Novi Sad (Serbia) will host the title from 2021 to 2022 and in which Timisoara (Romania) and Elefsina (Greece) will take over from 2021 to 2023.

Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, said “Rijeka and Galway deserve a fair chance to bounce back and showcase their resilience and creativity. Opening hearts and minds, welcoming diverse audiences and artists has always been the lifeblood of the European Capitals of Culture. And it shall remain so. I am confident that for Novi Sad, Timisoara and Elefsina, additional time will allow to weather the current downturn in the cultural and tourism sectors and mobilise relevant investment, including through solidarity at European level.”

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, also commented on the proposal, stating that "Culture has been badly hit by the pandemic and European Capitals of Culture are no exception. Despite the energy, enthusiasm and professionalism of their teams and partners, Rijeka and Galway were unable to roll out their 2020 European Capital of Culture programmes as planned. I hope that both cities will make the most of the possibility offered to them to prolong their special year. I am sure that Timisoara, Elefsina and Novi Sad, the European Capitals of Culture next in line, will benefit from extra time to prepare their ambitious programmes.”



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