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Banja Luka, Bodø and Mostar short-listed for the title of European Capital of Culture 2024

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Banja Luka, Bodø and Mostar have been shortlisted in the competition for the title of European Capital of Culture 2024 in a city from an EFTA/EEA country, a candidate country or a potential candidate to EU membership.

Banja Luka, Bodø and Mostar have been shortlisted today in the competition for the title of European Capital of Culture 2024 in a city from an EFTA/EEA country, a candidate country or a potential candidate to EU membership. A panel of independent experts who were evaluating applications from five competing cities made the recommendation at the outcome of a 2-day meeting in Brussels.

Short-listed cities have until summer, 2019 to complete their applications. The panel of independent experts will then meet again in the second half of 2019 to make their final recommendation about the European Capital of Culture 2024.

In 2024, there will be two other European Capitals of Culture, one in Estonia and one in Austria. The pre-selection round in Estonia took place on 22-23 October 2018, with Narva and Tartu being short-listed, while the pre-selection meeting in Austria will take place in late January 2019.

Being shortlisted benefits cities

Following Leeuwarden (The Netherlands) and Valletta (Malta) in 2018, these will be the European Capitals of Culture:

  • 2019: Matera (Italy) and Plovdiv (Bulgaria);
  • 2020: Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland);
  • 2021: Elefsina (Greece), Timisoara (Romania) and Novi Sad (Serbia, candidate country to EU membership)
  • 2022: Kaunas (Lithuania) and Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg).

Being shortlisted for the title can result in significant cultural, economic and social benefits for the cities selected, if their bid is part of a longer-term culture-led development strategy.

Learn about the selection process of the shortlisted cities

The European Commission invited applications from interested cities in October 2017. The competition was open to cities from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro (except the city of Herceg Novi, as the city already submitted an application for the competition for the 2021 ECOC title) and Norway. Cities in Serbia were not eligible, as Novi Sad (Serbia) will hold the European Capital of Culture title in 2021. From these countries, five cities submitted applications at the end: Banja Luka, Bodø, Mostar, Srebrenica and Tirana.

A panel composed of 10 independent experts appointed by the European Parliament, the European Council, the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions examined the applications. The selection procedure has two rounds: a pre-selection round, following which candidate cities are shortlisted, and a final selection round nine months later when one city is recommended for the title.

Background

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.

European Capitals of Culture also contribute to the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage as they also celebrate Europe's great achievements in arts, as well as to our traditions and values. Both the European Capitals of Culture and the European Year of Cultural Heritage are unique opportunities to safeguard and promote Europe's cultural diversity, highlight common values and foster the contribution of culture to European societies and economies.