- Wednesday, September 12, 2018 2:26 PM
Skopje, 12 September 2018 (MIA) – Skopje Mayor Petre Silegov told a news conference Wednesday that Macedonia's capital will apply for the title of European Capital of Culture for 2028.
All activities aimed at improving the city, Mayor Silegov said, such as the planned renovation of Universal Hall, will focus on the goal of Skopje receiving the prestigious title in 2028.
"The title will bring more visitors to our city," Silegov said, "and improve its economy. And 2028 will soon come to pass, but what the city will get as a legacy will stay with us for decades. I believe Skopje will join Liverpool, Dublin, Amsterdam, Madrid, Istanbul, Copenhagen, and all other European capitals that have received this status."
The project's strategic coordinator, Robert Alagjozovski, said preparations for the title would be complex and require up to four years. The selection process, he added, lasts two years, and the decision is made four years ahead of the official designation.
"We're starting on time," Alagjozovski said. "We will present the first draft of the plan in November and encourage public debate to include a wide range of ideas and suggestions from citizens."
He said Skopje had to transform and form more cultural institutions, as well as strengthen its independent culture scene by greater inclusion of the civil society and individual citizens.
"What we plan to highlight," Alagjozovski said, "is that 2028 will mark the 65th anniversary of the earthquake. Skopje overcame that trauma thanks to the solidarity of the international community, and our goal is to make Skopje international again through a process of urban cultural renewal."
The European Capital of Culture program is a flagship cultural initiative of the European Union. It was conceived in 1983 by Melina Mercouri, then serving as Minister of Culture in Greece, and her French counterpart Jack Lang to bring Europeans closer together by showcasing the richness and diversity of European cultures and raising awareness of their common history and values.
A 2004 study prepared for the European Commission showed that the choice of European Capital of Culture served as a catalyst for the cultural development and the transformation of the city. mr/14:26
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