Ján Figeľ, European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, commented: “I am delighted that the 2013 Capitals are making great strides in their preparations. The Capitals of Culture play an important role in promoting our cultural wealth and diversity, which is undoubtedly one of the key characteristics of the EU. This initiative also has a significant impact on the local economy of the cities concerned, and creates more jobs and commercial and cultural opportunities for their inhabitants. This explains the intense competition between candidate cities, the result of which is a significant increase in the quality of applications. The high standard set by the pre-selection procedures is aimed at ensuring that the European Capitals of Culture are a great success”
In accordance with the decision establishing the European Capital of Culture initiative, FRANCE and SLOVAKIA are the Member States entitled to host the European Capitals of Culture in 2013. From mid-December, the Culture Ministries of these two countries will each convene the panel for a pre-selection meeting.
These pre-selection meetings will take place, respectively, from 12-14 December in Bratislava and 17-19 December in Paris.
The 2013 title is the first to be governed by the new designation process put in place in 2006. This process involves selection in two stages: a pre-selection stage, after which a short-list of candidate cities is chosen, followed by a final selection nine months later. The two chosen cities should be formally designated by the EU Council of Ministers in spring 2009.
Applications will be examined by an international panel made up of thirteen members, six appointed by the Member State concerned and the remaining seven by the European Institutions. Their brief will be to examine the applications in the light of the criteria laid down in the aforementioned Decision.
The panel members appointed by the European Institutions are as follows:
- European Commission appointees: Sir Bob SCOTT, who led Liverpool’s application for the European Capital of Culture 2008 title. An expert on culture (particularly theatre), he is currently the international ambassador for the Liverpool Culture Company. Jordi PASCUAL I RUIZ is a researcher in the field of cultural policy and local development and is a member of various working parties organising international projects.
- Council appointees: Mary McCARTHY was the Deputy Director of Cork 2005 and is currently working on one of Europe’s largest urban regeneration schemes, the Dublin Docklands Development Authority. Mary MICHAILIDOU was Director-General for Cultural Development at the Greek Ministry of Culture and was also a member of the boards of governors of several museums and cultural foundations in Greece.
- European Parliament appointees: Gottfried WAGNER is the Director of the European Cultural Foundation, the goal of which is to promote cultural cooperation in Europe. Danuta GLONDYS is the Director of the Villa Decius Association and organises many activities in the field of international culture.
- Committee of the Regions appointee: Jyrki MYLLYVIRTA chairs the Commission for Education and Culture at the Committee of the Regions and is a local councillor in Finland.
After Luxembourg and Sibiu this year, the forthcoming European Capitals of Culture are Liverpool and Stavanger (Norway) in 2008, Linz (Austria) and Vilnius (Lithuania) in 2009, and Essen (Germany), Pécs (Hungary) and Istanbul in 2010.
For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/culture/eac/ecocs/cap_en.html
 Decision No 1622/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 2006