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Cultural Diplomacy, News

The European Commission Issues a Positive Final Monitoring Report for the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture Project

The third and final, positive monitoring report was issued by the European Commission after Rijeka’s ECoC team showcased the project and programme for 2020 before an EU panel of experts.

After Rijeka won the European Commission Melina Mercouri award of €1.5 million for the successful implementation of the European Capital of Culture project so far, the third and final report of the monitoring process carried out by the EU expert panel was published today on the official EC website. The report grants Rijeka’s project a positive final rating and it primarily deals with the project’s legacy.

Rijeka’s delegation, consisting of representatives of the City of Rijeka and of the RIJEKA 2020 project, travelled to the Irish city of Galway in October for a meeting and a presentation before a panel of experts tasked with monitoring the implementation of the European Capital of Culture project, which was followed by the Commission’s decision to grant the Melina Mercouri Award to Rijeka. Along with Rijeka, the same process was undergone by the city of Galway, which is Ireland’s European Capital of Culture for 2020. As is well known, both cities have won this significant financial award for the successful implementation of the project, and the panel of experts has now issued the final report on the monitoring process.

In its third monitoring report, the Commission commends the efforts of RIJEKA 2020 thus far, as well as the plans regarding the implementation of the programmes and the strategic approach to the topics of the project’s legacy. The report also states that Rijeka’s ECoC project can serve as a positive example of the impact the European Capital of Culture title can have on the overall cultural development of the title holder, and it also indicates that Rijeka is making full use of this project in the creation of a new identity of the city that has culture deeply ingrained in its DNA. The city of Rijeka’s strong support for the project was also rated positively by the Commission, and it congratulated the organisers on the successful and efficient utilisation of the European financial resources in the renovation of the city’s cultural infrastructure.

The organisers’ approach to communications and marketing was rated as professional and well thought out, and the Commission also commended the visual identity and overall branding of the project. Further communication of the general messages of the ECoC project to the domestic and European general public, done in an even clearer fashion, could help achieve an even greater degree of coherence of the programmes and of the specific messages that Rijeka wants to send out.

Apart from that, the Commission commended all the teamwork that is being put into the project, as well as the team itself, who never fail to find a positive way of dealing with all the challenges they are faced with. The Commission pointed out that the perseverance of the team members will be of crucial importance in the upcoming phase of the programme implementation.

The fact that next year will be the year of Croatia’s EU Presidency and Rijeka’s European Capital of Culture year is seen by the EC expert group as a major opportunity to increase the visibility of Rijeka, the ECoC project, and culture in general at the European scale. In that sense, the Commission commended the support provided by the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs for this project, and Rijeka’s team has already confirmed that the collaboration on this matter is already underway in a series of announced events and conferences, but also in the sense of planned meetings that are yet to take place before the official ECoC opening ceremony, such as the Council of Ministers of Culture of the South East Europe Meeting.

The Commission ends the report with acknowledgements of the RIJEKA 2020 company and of all the partners involved in the European Capital of Culture project for their devotion, and also expresses a firm belief in the successful implementation of the programme.

The Members of the expert panel tasked with the monitoring of the Rijeka 2020 European Capital of Culture project implementation were Sylvia Amann, Cristina Farinha and Agnieszka Wlazel appointed by the European Parliament, Paulina Florjanowicz, Dessislava Gavrilova and Pierre Sauvageot, appointed by the Council of the EU, Beatriz Garcia, Jiří Suchánek and Suzana Žilič Fišer appointed by the European Commission and Alin Adrian Nica, emissary of the European Committee of the Regions.

The officials representing Rijeka were: Vojko Obersnel, Mayor of Rijeka, Ivan Šarar, Head of Rijeka’s Department of Culture, Emina Višnić, CEO of RIJEKA 2020, Slaven Tolj, Artistic Director of the project, Irena Kregar Šegota, Partnership and Communications Director, Iva Grego, Operations Director, and Dražen Nikolić, Brand Management Consultant.