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Narva and Tartu short-listed for the title of European Capital of Culture 2024 in Estonia

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Narva and Tartu have been shortlisted today in the competition for the title of European Capital of Culture 2024 in Estonia. The recommendation was done by a panel of independent experts evaluating applications from three competing Estonian cities at the outcome of a 2-day meeting in Tallinn.

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

Once the panel's recommendation has been confirmed by the relevant Estonian authorities, cities will have until next summer to complete their applications. The panel will then meet again in Tallinn in the second half of 2019 to recommend the Estonian city to become the European Capital of Culture 2024.

In 2024, Estonia will host the European Capital of Culture for the second time, after Tallinn in 2011. In the same year, there will also be a European Capital of Culture in Austria and one in an EFTA/EEA country, candidate country or potential candidate to EU membership. The pre-selection round in Austria will take part in late January 2019 while the pre-selection meeting for the competition between cities in EFTA/EEA countries, candidate countries and potential candidates will take place on 21-22 November 2018.

Following Leeuwarden (The Netherlands) and Valletta (Malta) this year, Matera (Italy) and Plovdiv (Bulgaria) will be European Capitals of Culture in 2019, Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland) in 2020, Elefsina (Greece), Timisoara (Romania) and Novi Sad (Serbia, candidate country to EU membership) in 2021, and Kaunas (Lithuania) and Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg) in 2022.

Background

Estonia invited applications from interested cities on 29 November 2017. Three cities submitted applications: Kuressaare, Narva and Tartu.

The applications were examined by a panel composed of 12 independent experts, ten of which were appointed by the European Union institutions and bodies and two by the relevant Estonian authorities.

According to the current system for designating the European Capitals of Culture, the selection has two rounds: a pre-selection round, following which a shortlist of candidate cities is drawn up, and a final selection round approximately nine months later. The selected cities are then officially designated by the Member State concerned.

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.