Veszprém (Hungary), Elefsina (Greece), and Timișoara (Romania) are the three cities which have been named European Capitals of Culture for 2023 as of January 1. Timisoara shaped its objectives by naming itself the European Capital of Culture for 2023, focusing on the people’s influence on the community in which they live. The goal was for the city to become a haven for cultural excellence, giving citizens confidence that through their involvement and participation, the city would be able to effect significant changes in its surroundings.
Origin of European Capitals of Culture (ECoC)
The then-Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, launched the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) initiative in 1985. It has since become one of Europe’s most visible cultural initiatives, with citizens and government officials celebrating it zealously across the country.
Cities are chosen based on a cultural program with a strong European dimension, which includes:
- encouraging participation and involvement of city residents, communities, and stakeholders; and
- contributing to the long-term development of the city and its surrounding region.
Timișoara is Romania’s second city to hold the ECoC title, following Sibiu in 2007.
Timișoara participates in ECoC 2023
Timisoara, which formerly belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is now Romania’s third-largest city, with a population of 3,15,000. Here, people of various nationalities and religious beliefs have coexisted for centuries. This diversity was the overarching theme for Timisoara’s campaign to be named the European Capital of Culture. The Banat region, currently home to over 30 different cultural communities, including Romanians, Germans, Hungarians, Serbians, Croatians, Italians, Spaniards, and Bulgarians, has developed a diverse cultural palette over the centuries. The diversity of the city’s culture has contributed to the establishment of public institutions specifically geared toward the European immigrants who have settled in Timișoara.
Timisoara installed electric street lighting in 1884, making it the first city in continental Europe to do so. Timisoara’s streets saw the beginning of the Revolution against Ceausescu’s government in 1989. Timisoara will be the European Capital of Culture in 2023, and the city will come alive with dialogue about valour and diversity. The other day’s mural painting competition in Timisoara was part of preparations for Timisoara to be the Capital of Culture in 2021. Still, the COVID-19 pandemic gave it a two-year extension.
Why “Shine your light – Light up your city!”
“Shine your light” has been chosen as Timisoara’s catchphrase for the year. It is intended to demonstrate that everyone, regardless of gender or background, has something to offer, according to Mayor Dominic Fritz. Everyone can illuminate society.
Opening events for the program, which has the theme “Shine your light – Light up your city!” occur from February 17 to February 19. The program is organised around the connections among people, places, and things.
There will be numerous music and performing arts festivals throughout the year, educational opportunities (conferences, seminars, and workshops), exhibitions, and performances.
Special Attendees or Panel members
Even though the event’s primary audience is the locals, a few panellists play a crucial role in directing the overall movement. Here are a few of them:
- The European Parliament’s 2021–2023 appointments of Else Christensen–Redepovi, Suvi Innilä (Rapporteur), and Jorge Cerveira Pinto
- Paulina Florjanowicz and Dessislava Gavrilova, appointed by the EU Council for the period 2019–2021
- The European Commission appointed Jelle Burggraaff and Beatriz Garcia (Chair) for the 2020–2022 period
Since he was elected President of Timis County in October 2020, the Panel member designated by the European Committee of the Regions for the 2020–2022 period does not participate in the meetings with Timisoara.
Process of enrolling for Capital
The main Timișoara 2023 stakeholders—the Timișoara 2021 ECoC Association, the City of Timișoara, the Timiș County Council, and the Ministry of Culture—joined forces to create a thorough progress report that was presented in advance of the meeting. The report highlighted the significant obstacles the project has faced and how they have impeded its progress and development as intended. It also reflected how far the project has come since the last monitoring. The report also included some early strategies for overcoming these difficulties.
Timișoara 2023 also provided a 40-minute video before the virtual meeting to replace the regular presentation that was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The presentation began with the new mayor of Timișoara assuring the panel of his commitment and the city’s commitment to the ECoC project in terms of funding, principles, and goals. He reaffirmed his commitment to addressing the issues at hand. He also emphasised the significance of developing projects that align with the bid book and will have an impact after 2023 and the importance of enhancing the program’s European component.
He mentioned funding issues brought on by the nation’s legislative climate, delays in infrastructure projects, and issues with the Association’s operational authority. The Center for Projects, a new organisational entity that was established in March 2021 to become a permanent and transparent funding tool for culture at the municipal level and take over the funding function for Timișoara 2023, was introduced by the mayor.