The institution of the European Capital of Culture (ECOC), which was created in order to bring peoples of Europe together, is an EU action for the enhancement of the wealth of diversity, the common aspects of European cultures and the improvement of mutual understanding between European citizens.
This institution was established by the Council of Ministers in June 1985, as an intergovernmental initiative, following the proposal of Melina Mercouri. The EU action of European Capital of Culture attracted many visitors, having increased success among European citizens. Our country has already hosted the institution of the European Capital of Culture three (3) times (Athens 1985, Thessaloniki 1997 and Patras 2006).
It is also worth mentioning that the designated cities from 2010 onwards have been awarded the prize “in honor of Melina Mercouri”, amounting 1.500.000€. Each year two cities from two different EU Member States have the right to hold the title.
For the years 2014-2020, the European Capitals of Culture will be funded by the programme “Creative Europe” of the European Commission. The competition for hosting the institution starts six (6) years in advance, so that the cities have sufficient time to be prepared before the launch of the title year.
Greece would initially host the institution in 2021, along with Romania and Serbia.
However, in order to give further flexibility, due to the covid_19 pandemic, in the execution of the ECOC programme, the year of the institution for Greece and Romania was postponed to 2023, while for Serbia in 2022.