Narva and Tartu will continue to compete for the title of European Capital of Culture, while Kuressaare was eliminated from the competition. This was the decision reached by an independent and international expert commission that assessed the applications of the three competing Estonian cities at a two-day meeting in Tallinn on October 22nd and 23rd.
The competition for the Capital of Culture 2024 started last year in November of 2017. Three cities – Kuressaare, Narva and Tartu – had submitted their applications by the deadline in October of this year. The cities that made the cut will need to finalise their applications by next summer. Thereafter, the expert commission will reconvene in Tallinn in the second half of 2019 and determine which city will bear the title of European Capital of Culture 2024.
The Capital of Culture is selected by a 12-member commission that is comprised of ten members named by European institutions and agencies, including three from the European Parliament, three from the Council of Europe, three from the European Commission, and one from the European Committee of the Regions. The commission also includes two Estonian experts – Anu Kivilo and Mikko Fritze.
The Estonian state will support the capital of culture programme in an amount equivalent to the support of the local government and other financial sources that may total up to € 10 million. The European Commission will bestow the Melina Mercouri Prize on the capital of culture, which will total €1.5 million.
Three cities will simultaneously bear the title of European Capital of Culture in 2024. In addition to the Estonian city, one Austrian city and one city from a European Free Trade Association country (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), a EU candidate state (Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey) or a possible candidate state (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo) will also bear the title.
A Capital of Culture will be chosen from Estonia for the second time, as Tallinn bore the title in 2011. This year the European Capitals of Culture are Leeuwarden in the Netherlands and Valletta, the capital of Malta. In 2019, the title will be assumed by Matera in Italy and the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv.