High Representative, Valentin Inzko congratulated Banja Luka Mayor and the highly professional and creative team which worked on the Banja Luka candidacy for European Capital of Culture 2024 for being in the finals with Norwegian city Bodø which eventually got selected.
“This is indeed a great achievement for Banja Luka and I want to congratulate every person on the excellent team headed by the Mayor Igor Radojicic for showing a different picture of RS and BiH to the world – picture which shows all that this country and its people have to offer to their home – Europe. It is especially encouraging that Banja Luka’s candidacy was supported by Bihac and Jajce, within the “Coalition of BiH Cities” part of the project and I hope that the synergy and effort invested will continue in the future and yield tangible results inside BiH as well.”, High Representative stated.
A panel of independent experts who were evaluating applications from five competing cities made the recommendation at the outcome of a 2-day meeting in Brussels, after which they decided that Bodo will be European Capital of Culture 2024.
A panel composed of 10 independent experts appointed by the European Parliament, the European Council, the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions examined the applications. The selection procedure has two rounds: a pre-selection round, following which candidate cities are shortlisted, and a final selection round nine months later when one city is recommended for the title.
Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said:
“In 2024, we will once again have a European Capital of Culture beyond the European Union. After Novi Sad (Serbia) in 2021, it will be the turn of Bodø to be under the spotlight for a year. I am convinced that the city and its region will use this opportunity to reinforce their cultural and other connections with the European Union. I hope that this title will also boost the city’s cultural vibrancy and ambitions, bring culture and cultural heritage right to the heart of its various communities and promote intercultural dialogue in the region. Visitors from all over Europe and beyond will have the possibility to discover the city and its cultural assets, but also to appreciate the diversity of cultures on our continent. I am confident that Bodø will reap the long-term cultural, economic and social benefits that the European Capital of Culture title can bring.“
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.
European Capitals of Culture also contribute to the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage as they also celebrate Europe’s great achievements in arts, as well as to our traditions and values. Both the European Capitals of Culture and the European Year of Cultural Heritage are unique opportunities to safeguard and promote Europe’s cultural diversity, highlight common values and foster the contribution of culture to European societies and economies.