In anticipation of the new legal framework for the European Capital of Culture (ECOC), this own-initiative opinion was proposed in order to highlight a number of changes it would like to see made to the policy in terms of its objectives, criteria and application process.
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- acknowledges that the ECOC is a valuable event that highlights the wealth, diversity and common aspects of European cultures, noting that the ECOC programme has made a special contribution to the emergence of a European identity during a period of rapid cultural growth for the European Union;
- points out that the growing prestige of the title has also given culture an important place on the political agenda of the Member States, regions and cities;
- reaffirms its belief that the concept of intercultural dialogue, allied with social and territorial cohesion, can help to instil the basic values of private, social and civic life, such as solidarity, responsibility, tolerance, respect; it can also foster the ability to communicate between individuals and groups with a different cultural background and help them live together in solidarity;
- notes that cities which have been awarded the title ECOC have seen their cultural sector significantly strengthened and a sustained increase in cultural participation, particularly among young people;
- stresses that the ECOC needs to be a process in which local audiences are developed through educational programmes, participatory actions and raised awareness on local and European issues.