A panel of 10 independent experts recommended the shortlist following a one-day digital meeting.
The Commission invited applications from interested cities in December 2021. Budva (Montenegro) and Skopje (North Macedonia) submitted applications by the deadline of 11 November 2022.
Being shortlisted for the title can result in significant cultural, economic and social benefits for the cities concerned, providing that their bid is part of a longer-term culture-led development strategy.
The cities have until the summer 2023 to complete their applications. The panel will meet in September 2023 to recommend one city to become, in 2028, the third European Capital of Culture in an EFTA/EEA country, candidate country or potential country, after Novi Sad (Serbia) in 2022 and Bodo (Norway) in 2024.
In the same year, there will be two other European Capitals of Culture, one in the Czech Republic (Bromouv and Budweis have been short-listed in October 2022) and one in France (the pre-selection meeting will take place in early March 2023).
How cities become European Capitals of Culture
The selection procedure has 2 rounds:
- a pre-selection round, following which a shortlist of candidate cities is drawn up
- a final selection round approximately nine months later.
For the competition between cities in an EFTA/EEA country, candidate country or potential candidate participating in the Union’s programme Creative Europe, a panel of 10 independent experts designated by European Union institutions and bodies examine the applications, and recommend a short-list and – in the second round –, the selected city to the European Commission.
The selected city is then officially designated by the European Commission.
The bidding cities should prepare a cultural programme with a strong European dimension and must have a lasting impact and contribute to the long-term development of the city. The cities must also show that they have the support from the relevant public local authorities and the capacity to deliver the project.
Born in 1985 from an idea of the then Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, the European Capitals of Culture have grown into one of the most ambitious cultural projects in Europe and one of the best known – and most appreciated – activities of the EU. Their objectives are to promote the diversity of cultures in Europe, to highlight the common features they share and to foster the contribution of culture to the long-term development of cities.