European Capital of Culture candidate cities request a meeting with the Minister of Culture

In the final stage of the Portuguese city selection process to be awarded the title of European Capital of Culture in 2027, the teams of the four finalist cities working on the candidacies – Aveiro, Braga, Évora and Ponta Delgada – met on Europe Day, in Évora, to reflect on the process and to discuss common issues that they want to share with the Minister of Culture, Pedro Adão e Silva. Convinced of the relevance of this process for the cultural development of the country and taking into account the role of the Portuguese Ministry of Culture as the managing authority, the four cities  decided to request a meeting with the new head of the Ministry, in an attempt to resume the dialogue they have been engaged in since the pre-selection stage and which will be important for the preparation of the second version of the bid books that have to be delivered by 21 October 2022 for evaluation by the international panel of independent experts.

Given the pioneering nature of the process in Portugal, taking into account that it is the first time that several cities presented their candidacy, the 12 candidate cities decided to establish an informal collaboration network to start dialogue with the Government (through the Ministry of Culture) about common aspects to the several candidacies. This partnership work inevitably extended to other areas of the candidacy process and was now resumed by the shortlisted cities. In this meeting, the teams from Aveiro, Braga, Évora and Ponta Delgada analysed the panel of independent experts’ report resulting from the pre-selection stage and addressed some dimensions foreseen in the selection form. Although this is a competition in which, in the end, only one city will win the title, the teams unanimously agreed that, regardless of the results, it is an opportunity to encourage all cities (including those of the pre-selection stage) to continue the work they started while preparing their candidacies. Enthusiastic about the next steps, the teams also intend to intensify their collaboration, namely in the development of joint projects.

In 2027, the title of European Capital of Culture – the European Commission's initiative with the highest public recognition by European citizens – will be again awarded to a Portuguese city, together with a Latvian city. In March, we learned that Aveiro, Braga, Évora and Ponta Delgada were the four shortlisted Portuguese cities for the final stage of the competition. After this stage, the cities have until 21 October to deliver the second version of their bid books, taking into account the recommendations of the panel of independent experts that evaluated the candidacies submitted in the pre-selection stage. Two to four panel members will visit the shortlisted cities and then a new meeting will be held (with all the members). Between the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023, the name of the Portuguese city chosen to receive the title of European Capital of Culture in 2027 will be announced.