Press Release – Athens, December 9, 2014

On December 9 2014 the call for submission of applications of the Greek cities interested in hosting the institution of the European Capital of Culture for the year 2021 was uploaded on the website of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports (

This institution aims at enhancing the cultural wealth, the diversity, as well as the common cultural aspects of Europe, in order to bring the peoples of Europe together and to improve mutual understanding. The ECoC has been established by the Council of Ministers in June 1985, following the initiative of Melina Mercouri. The title has been awarded to our country three (3) times (Athens 1985, Thessaloniki 1997 and Patras 2006).

The title of the European Capital of Culture is awarded each year to the city of two Member States that have been mentioned at the timeline of the new Decision 445/2014/EU. For the year 2021, the two Member States which will host the institution are Greece and Romania. For the same year the title will also be held by one city from a candidate or a potential candidate country for accession to the EU. A pecuniary prize of 1.5€ million will also be awarded “in honor of Melina Mercouri” to the city of each Member State that will hold the title, provided that it fulfills the commitments set out in its application.

The call for submission of applications includes the criteria for the award of the title, the award of “Melina Mercouri” prize, as well as information about the selection process. A panel of independent European and national experts will undertake to assess the applications submitted by the candidate cities. They will result in a number of preselected cities and, at the final selection stage, they will nominate one city that will be awarded the title of Cultural Capital of Europe and the prize “Melina Mercouri”.

The responsible authority for the organisation of this process is the Directorate of International Relations and European Union of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, Department of European Union. Contact persons: Eirini Komninou and Katerina Antonopoulou, tel: 0030 210 3313848, 0030 210 3230323, e-mail:

More details about the institution “Cultural Capital of Europe” are available on the website and soon on the forthcoming website of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture for the Cultural Capital of Europe http: //