BRUSSELS- The selection panel of independent experts responsible for assessing the cities competing to be European Capital of Culture in 2021 in a candidate country or potential candidate has recommended that Novi Sad, Serbia, should be awarded the title.Two cities had been shortlisted after the preselection round in December 2015:
- Herceg Novi in Montenegro
- Novi Sad in Serbia
The Commission has now to formally endorse the panel’s recommendation.
Started in 1985 on the initiative of the then Greek Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri, European Capitals of Culture have developed into one of the most ambitious cultural projects in Europe and become one of the best known – and most appreciated – activities of the European Union.
The original motivation of the project is more relevant than ever. It is to provide Europeans with an opportunity to learn more about each other’s cultures, to enter into intercultural dialogue and to enjoy their shared history and values. The initiative is now open to cities in candidate countries or potential candidates for EU membership every third year as of 2021. Novi Sad will be on the spotlight in 2021 along with the city of Timisoara (Romania) and a city in Greece that will be selected in a few weeks out of the three shortlisted cities (Elefsina, Kalamata and Rhodes).
Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said:
I am very pleased that in 2021 we will have our first European Capital of Culture in a candidate country. The opening of this prestigious European programme to those countries seeking full membership is a way to bring them closer to and reinforce their cultural links with the Union. I congratulate Novi Sad on its successful bid.
I am confident that Novi Sad will give visitors from Europe and all over the world the opportunity to discover the city and its cultural assets, but also to appreciate the diversity of cultures in Europe as well as our shared values. I am confident that the title will bring Novi Sad significant long-term cultural, as well as economic and social benefits, as we have seen with many previous European Capitals of Culture.