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New European Capitals of Culture inaugurated

New European Capitals of Culture inaugurated

Marseille (France) and Kosice (Slovakia) have assumed their position as the European Capitals of Culture in 2013.

The cultural programme will officially begin on January 12th in Marseille and on January 19th in Kosice.

Androulla Vassiliou, European commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth, said: “This is the moment that Marseille and Kosice have been preparing for - and waiting for - since their selection as the 2013 European Capitals of Culture.

“I’m sure the public will be treated to an unforgettable launch in both cities. The opening events will mark the beginning of what will be a tremendous year of cultural activities, aimed not only at local people from the city and surrounding region, but also at those coming from much further afield.

“The European Capital of Culture has been a fantastic EU success story for more than 25 years: the title is a unique opportunity to boost a city’s cultural vibrancy and long-term development, as well as being hugely important for tourism, job creation and urban regeneration.

“I wish both 2013 Capitals of Culture every success!”

The launch of Marseille-Provence 2013 will take place on January 12th-13th 2013 with four festive highlights: a public opening ceremony in Marseille attended by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, the opening of a contemporary art exhibition in Aix-en-Provence, a treasure hunt in Marseille-Provence and a fireworks display in Arles to close the opening week-end.

Kosice will open its festivities, in the presence of Commissioner Vassiliou, on January 19th-20th at various locations of the city, including the State Theatre, the Steel Arena, the Podium as well various clubs, restaurants and cultural venues.

“Kosice 2013 – European Capital of Culture” will profile the city as the crossing of old routes between East and West.

In autumn 2012 the European Commission awarded the Melina Mercouri Prize (worth 1.5 million euros) to the two 2013 Capitals in recognition of the quality of their preparations and for meeting the commitments they made at the selection stage.