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May 18, 2021

President Iohannis: Timisoara – European Capital of Culture will be a success; Gov’t support, important

President Klaus Iohannis on Monday voiced his conviction that the project Timisoara – European Capital of Culture 2021 will be a success, pointing out that the Government support in this respect is important.

“The most important thing that can happen to an urban community is happening to you. You are getting ready for the programme changing Timisoara. You have the privilege, which I think we can say that is unique, of Timisoara being the place where the Revolution started in December ’89, and after a few years, historically speaking, you have the chance to be European Capital of Culture. There must be something special in Timisoara! I hope you know this and I am positive it will be a success,” Iohannis said at the meeting with cultural operators and local authorities on the topic Timisoara – European Capital of Culture.

He noted that Timisoara has witnessed very determined steps for the events that will take place in 2021.

“The matter isn’t only related to hosting events, but to generating the framework, events, accessibility and visibility. The general political framework, at least on a local level, has been created,” the head of state said.

Iohannis maintained that the local authorities must persuade the Government to support the project.

“This support can take several forms. The most obvious matter is money, but money alone does not solve but some of the problems. It is important that the Government understand this programme, support you with all the entities playing a role here, and these are not only the Culture Ministry and the Finance Ministry, many other governmental entities are as important, which must help you create the national framework for this European Capital of Culture,” he said.

President Iohannis pointed out that the essence of the European Capital of Culture project is the cultural programme, showing that this one must be carefully designed to highlight the national, local side, as well as the European side.

“If anyone thinks that a European Capital of Culture is a festival is very wrong,” added the head of state, who had been mayor of Sibiu the year this city was European Capital of Culture.

He concluded that there isn’t a recipe for a European Capital of Culture. “Each one must be something new, an independent project, shining as the local community envisages it,” Iohannis said.


 It’s paramount to have singular command center of European Capital of Culture


President Klaus Iohannis shared on Monday to the members of the Timisoara 2021 European Capital of Culture Association (ATCCE) from the experience gathered when Sibiu was European Capital of Culture, during his tenure as mayor, stressing out that “throughout the European Capital of Culture period it is important to exist a singular command center.”

“From an operational point of view, the most important thing during the European Capital of Culture is the existence of a singular command center, otherwise it will happen what has always happened to us, whether we have a positive or tragic event, we stumble (…). If anyone believes that a cultural capital is a festival they are clearly wrong. A cultural capital is a giant project that can be appreciated at his true value after it passes. A big Olympic competition lasts two weeks, a cultural capital lasts 52 weeks and the public expects everything to be superlative from day one until the last day,” the head of state said.

Klaus Iohannis underlined that is paramount for this project to involve events that represent a local tradition, festivals having years of traditions, but it’s necessary to invent new events, so the representations won’t be just a sort of “Cantarea Romaniei.”

Director of the ATCCE 2021 Simona Neumann explained during a debate that took place at the Art Museum in Timisoara, which was attended by the Romanian President, what were the the project’s advantages which made Timisoara win the tile of European Capital of Culture, started in 2010.

She explained that the concept of light as a central theme was selected because for Timisoara the light element has symbolic meanings and it was included in the project motto : “Illuminate the city.”

“Not only because in 1884 Timisoara was the first city in Continental Europe to have street lighting, which is a fact, but light has a metaphoric meaning. Timisoara was founded on the Enlightenment principles of tolerance, accepting others, entrepreneurship, but it’s also about the light in everyone, that sets in motion the civic spirit which in 1989 culminated with the street protests against a totalitarian regime,” Simona Neumann explained.

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