In 2021 Greece is going to host the institution of the European Capital of Culture for the fourth time in its history, which was envisioned by the late Melina Merkouri and it has been successfully implemented for over thirty years.
It is an institution that contributes to the cooperation of European peoples, thus enhancing the common features of their European history, their shared cultural expressions, as well as their particular cultural identity and physiognomy. The vision of the united Europe based on the ideals of the freedom of expression, democracy and solidarity is implemented through culture, aiming at the creation of a better, sustainable and more tolerant Europe. A human-centered Europe that can offer all the citizens access to its cultural goods and can allow the use of the creative potential especially for the young, for the benefit of the society.
The profits derived from the institution are indeed particularly significant for the city bearing the title. The “European Capital of Culture” proves that culture has the potential to transform a city, thus contributing decisively to the amelioration of the quality of life of its citizens, the strengthening of the social cohesion and the boost of growth and entrepreneurship. It is clear that culture is not luxury but necessity for the achievement of prosperity, progress and social cohesion, in the framework of an integrated and long term developmental policy.
It is profitable for the cities, whatever the result, to bid for the title of the European Capital of Culture, placing culture at the forefront.
The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports has undertaken to organise the selection procedure for the European Capital of Culture in 2021, with responsibility, transparency and consistency, in cooperation with the European Commission.
I would like to wish every success to those cities participating in the bidding process, so as to give our culture the prominent place that deserves and to exploit all its benefits for a better and a fairer society.