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In 2025, a "ruby wedding" with the Ecocs. Need a change?

Matera in the night Matera in the night

The European Capital of Culture competition desired by the European Union is about to reach an important milestone: the 40th anniversary of its birth. In 2025 this competition will celebrate the so-called “Ruby Wedding” with European cities. A marriage with the many regions of Europe, with the territories which, as in every marriage, has experienced positive aspects, in most cases, and negative aspects.

EcocNews, the only online newspaper that tells how European cities are trying to change their destinies through culture, will follow this event with great attention starting from the publication of a book that will collect the various interviews made up to now and which will continue up to 2024, to some of the leading experts in this competition and, above all, to the candidate cities and those nominated capitals.

Ecocnews' goal, also in this case, is not economic, but cultural.

The goal is to arrive at this anniversary with an open discussion table to better understand what mistakes have been made and what corrections to adopt to better achieve the goals that the European Union has set itself through this program. The only European programme, it should be remembered from time to time, in which the commission invests very little, only one million euros from the Mercouri prize, and with a great return in terms of territorial cohesion and in terms of the media, even if on the communication front there is still today a very strong deficit of the European Commission.

It is therefore useful to arrive at 2025 with a discussion table open to the contribution of all experts. A table that Ecocnews has opened since the first moment of its birth through interviews with experts and cities. The hope is that other experts and other cities can help us populate the debate to make it even more interesting, even more concrete and open up a new perspective to the competition.

But Ecocnews' journey has just begun.

In the meantime, thanks to the help of one of the leading experts on the European capital of culture such as Steve Green, let us summarize some useful numbers for the discussion.

Steve Green has drawn up a table on the progress of the Ecoc program from which some useful numbers can be deduced. These numbers, albeit partial, can help the discussion.

From 1985 to 2030, 350 cities are involved. Among these,  57 European capitals of culture have been chosen from 1985 to 2027.

If we calculate an average of around 100,000 residents for each city involved, this means that around 35 million people will be directly involved in 2030. But it is a low estimate because the competition does not only involve cities, but also the region in which the city is located. If we calculate an average of 500,000 residents in each region, this means that in 2030 the competition will involve as many as 175 million people. If we think that the total European population is around 450 million people, this means that competition in 2030 will involve around one in three people residing on the old continent.

In reality, the perception of this competition at European level is still very low. We don't have precise statistics in hand, but this is the impression. On the other hand, it is enough to ask any European citizen today what the European capitals of culture will be in 2023 and very few will be able to indicate them, obviously except in the cities directly involved or at most in the three regions involved.

Media repercussions are also one of the issues to be addressed in order to improve awareness of European culture.

A few more quick thoughts. From 1985 to today the rules of the competition have changed three times: after 2004 the new selection process begins, after 2012 the double selection phase arrives with the two dossiers, after 2019 the new criteria.

Forty years after the start of the competition, will the time have come to change objectives? To change the rules? To redefine the contents of cultural programs that in the last ten or twenty years seem almost photocopied?

The discussion is open. And Ecocnews is ready to host other contributions. Starting from those of the European Commission up to today perhaps still too timid around this great and important programme.

Meanwhile happy 2023 and of course best wishes to Timisoara, Veszprem and Eleusis.

Here the blog of Steve Green

 

Serafino Paternoster

Ecocnews Founder, Journalist, repentant jazz guitarist, music critic and film lover.

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