Monday, October 11, 2010

About the Cultural Capital of Europe

I was wondering why we never see ,watch or hear any updates from the Cultural Capital of Europe events in our national media. Every year one or two cities of Europe have the honor of being the Cultural Capital of the continent.

But we as citizens, have never the opportunity of watching on our national television any acts, events or news from the Capital, unless we are living in the city itself. What is its purpose then?

Just another way for the local Municipality of making money or receiving funds from the EU budget? Isn't it supposed to have a purpose other than giving money to the City Councils? God knows how those money are used. Isn't one of its purposes for Europeans to getting to know the city, its history, its culture,and the country it belongs as well?

And of course to promote and celebrate European culture, that comes in so many ways, in all its countries echoing from centuries old traditions, depending the city's history. It should be considered a great cultural event, but it is actually only the Eurovision Song Contest that gets our attention once a year. And I would not actually call this contest the best example of European culture.

Wouldn't be nice if we did watch events from the Cultural Capital, and get to know other cities or regions of Europe, coming in contact with other European cultures, way of living, arts, history, an so on? How do our leaders expect the EU project to succeed, if they leave people indifferent and they do not inspire them to follow and embrace the project?

It could be a great tourist attraction opportunity as well; judging by the need for extra cash in most countries in Europe now-days, what better way to promote your cultural wealth and attract tourists?  People would watch, read, or experience all the best that a city has to offer, become more curious about it and book a holiday there, either during the events, or in later years.

It could also lead to a booming of arts and crafts in every region of Europe, if the money that were invested in each city were not only used for reconstruction, but also to create and support local artists and cultural communities. Never mind creating a sense of belonging to all EU citizens, by allowing people from one side of Europe to watch how other European people live their lives and celebrate their traditions.

To conclude, for me the EU should also be about people, history and of course the various cultures of Europe. Either our leaders like it or not, the EU project is about the people of Europe too, not just its elite. The sooner they understand this, the better results we will have in the European project.

The current European Capitals of Europe for the 2012 are the cities of Maribor in Slovenia and Guimaraes in Portugal by the way. How many of you did you know this?

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