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France 2028, four cities in shortlist: Bourges, Clermont-Ferrand, Montpellier, Rouen

Paris, The Louvre Paris, The Louvre

Four French cities have been shortlisted to become European Capital of Culture in 2028: Rouen, Montpellier, Clermont – Ferrand, Bourges.

The announcement was made by the president of the evaluation panel, Rossella Tarantino, an Italian and ex-manager of Matera 2019. It was the first time that Italy led an evaluation panel.
And it would have been very nice if the French Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, had been present at the press conference, also to strengthen the ancient relations between the two countries. But unfortunately, perhaps for the first time in the recent history of European cultural capitals, there was no culture minister at the press conference. It was also one of the few times that the live streaming of the press conference was not organised, which would have allowed many journalists from international publications, such as EcocNews, to report on this important event.
But we are certain that this will not happen when the European Capital of Culture is proclaimed for 2028. Let's hope we are not wrong.
The speech made by Rossella Tarantino, who led the evaluation panel for the first time, was very heartfelt and emotional. You can read it in the full French version attached to this news item.

“The analysis of the dossiers and their presentation by the 9 candidate cities – said Tarantino - was fascinating and allowed us to enrich our knowledge and perception of contemporary France and the different issues these candidate cities are facing, but also to learn about the challenges they share with other European cities.

It was a true exploration of the geography and cultural diversity of France, as the candidates came from different French regions.

All nine candidate cities worked hard.

We appreciated and understood their commitment and passion in preparing the bid.  Dear mayors and teams, the countless meetings, workshops, discussions with local and regional communities, with the local arts and cultural scene, the density of the valuable links you have created at national and international level have enabled you to discover new perspectives and visions of your city and region and the role it can play at national and European level.

For some cities, the journey will end here. However, the work will not have been in vain. On the contrary, it has allowed you to build a capital of relationships, knowledge, projects and ideas, and a very important reputation for the future development of your cities and regions.  Our decision was not easy, I assure you, and the debate between us was intense. Because all the candidates presented many interesting aspects and ideas.

In the end, after an intense discussion between us, we selected the cities that had responded best to the 6 selection criteria: cultural strategy, cultural programme, European dimension, capacity to mobilise all citizens and finally management and implementation capacity”.

Meanwhile, the short-listed cities are exulting with joy. They have six months of work ahead of them to prepare the second dossier almost entirely dedicated to the cultural programme, budget and legacy.  In December 2023, French Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak will announce the results of the evaluation panel proclaiming the European Capital of Culture.

In the meantime, the other excluded cities, while waiting to read the panel's reasons, will still try to go ahead with their projects to meet the legitimate expectations of their citizens. This would be the best way to close this exciting journey and open a new chapter in their history, enhancing the great work done so far.

Best wishes to the winners, best wishes also to those who only had to suspend their journey.

Serafino Paternoster

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

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