The European panel in charge of monitoring preparations by the 2015 European Capitals of Culture, Mons, Belgium, and Plzeň, Czech Republic, has recommended that both should receive the Melina Mercouri Prize in recognition of the quality of their preparations. The prize amounts to €1.5 million for each city, to be paid under the EU Creative Europe programme.
As with all cities which have held the title of European Capital of Culture, the preparations of Mons and Plzeň for the title-year have been assessed by a monitoring and advisory panel which ensures that their programme meets the criteria for the title and respects the pledges made by the cities before they were officially designated.
The cultural programme for the year must have a strong European dimension, reflected in the themes chosen and involving artists and cultural operators from different countries. The cities must also ensure that the programme is attractive for the public and that it can result in a lasting impact on the city by contributing to its long-term cultural and social development.
The second and final monitoring meeting for the 2015 European Capitals of Culture took place in Brussels on 9 April, 2014.
In its report, the panel commends the cities for their preparations and states that the Commission should award both the Melina Mercouri Prize, which is named after the former Greek Culture Minister who inspired the launch of the European Capital of Culture initiative in 1985