The prestige title of a European Capital of Culture (ECoC) is designated by the Commission of the European Union to cities of EU member states since 1985. This programme is associated with Greece’s minister of culture – Melina Mercouri, who contributed a great deal in increasing the role of culture in the European Union. Until the year 2004 the programme was called the European City of Culture. Since 2004 the title changed to European Capital of Culture. Since 2009, two cities are selected each year – one from the original EU members states and one from the new members. From 2021 and every three years thereafter, a third city will be chosen. The winning city is designated by the Council of Ministers of the European Union based on the recommendation of the Commission of the European Union.
The ECoC programme provides an opportunity
for the winning city to present its cultural potential, lifestyle and
development. The aim of the programme is to raise
awerness about the richness and diversity of European cultures, highlight the
cultural characteristics of Europe, support of participation on the shared
cultural identity of Europeans and development of culture and European
The benefits of the programme can also be increasingly seen in areas of transformation, re-generation and development of cities through culture; in the development of cultural, transport and urban infrastructure; increase in tourism; creation of new partnerships in domestic and also international environment, etc.
For the first time Slovakia got this title in 2013.
Out of nine candidate cities the title of European Capital of Culture went to Košice with their project Košice Interface 2013.