Mercoledì, 29 Novembre 2023

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Skopje 2028, is online the Panel’s Decision

Skopje Skopje

On Wednesday 20 September, the European capitals expert panel recommended the city of Skopje (North Macedonia) for the title of European Capital of Culture 2028 “beyond the EU”. This category is reserved for EFTA/EEA countries or EU candidate countries. On the short list was only one other city in the EFTA/EEA category, Budva in Montenegro. But the panel between the two cities chose Skopje.In the past few days, the report of the evaluation panel has been published online where you can read the reasons that led to this decision.

Below is the summary of the two dossiers and the panel's decision. Attached to this news item is the full report of the evaluation panel.

České Budějovice, from the Czech Republic, and one of the four French short-listed cities will also be European Capitals of Culture in 2028: Rouen, Bourges, Clermont-Ferrand, Montpellier.The final selection meeting in France will take place between 11 and 13 December 2023.

Budva 2028 presented a well-formulated long-term cultural strategy; however, coherence between the city strategy and the ECoC is weak, particularly in addressing over-tourism and ensuring a sustainable tourism model. The cultural and artistic content demonstrates a positive shift in quality, with a solid programme structure; however, concerns arise regarding inclusivity and leadership within the local independent scene. The European dimension is appreciated, but deeper cooperation with European partners was missing. Outreach efforts commendably involve the local population, but more detailed tools for inclusion of various groups could have enhanced the bid. The capacity to deliver is supported by governmental backing, but the lack of existing cultural infrastructure raises significant concerns.

Skopje 2028 exhibits notable strengths in its thoroughly worked over ten-year cultural strategy, which is based on a bottom-up process. The bid stands out for its conceptual framework focusing on inclusivity and civic engagement, symbolised by the leitmotiv “Culture over Division”, which is important in North Macedonia as well as across Europe. The programme reflects a substantial enhancement with themes encouraging citizen participation and aligning with European values. The outreach strategy underscores inclusive opportunities for marginalised groups. Financially, the bid secures significant support, with an exceptional increase in the operating budget and detailed plans for infrastructure investments. However, some weaknesses include a lack in programme details, budgets and detailed schedules for the programme.

The Panel’s Decision
The panel was presented with bids from two distinct cities in different countries, each grappling with unique challenges and contexts, and presenting their own interpretation of the ECoC criteria. The bids had notable strengths, they also exhibited some weaknesses. Following the presentations, the panel deliberated on the merits of each city against the six criteria. In this connection, it is important to note that in accordance with Article 4 of Decision 445/2014/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, the cultural programme of an ECoC bid must have a strong European dimension and be created specifically for the ECoC title. Subsequently, during the concluding discussion, the applications were weighed against one another. The panel assessed the responses of the two cities based on the criteria outlined in their bid-books, as well as the presentations and the question-and-answer sessions. Consequently, the panel recommended that the Commission designate Skopje as the European Capital of Culture 2028 in a European Free Trade Association country which is a party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, a candidate country, or a potential candidate.

The report has been sent to the Commission, which publishes it on its website. In line with Article 11 of the Decision, the Commission will formally designate the city to hold the ECoC 2028 title in an EFTA/EEA country, candidate country, or potential candidate, based on the recommendation included in this report. Subsequently, it will notify the European Parliament, the Council of the EU, and the European Committee of the Regions. This formal designation allows Skopje to use the title "European Capital of Culture 2028".