Skopje named 2028 European Capital of Culture

The capital of North Macedonia, Skopje, was designated as a 2028 European Capital of Culture, at an event Wednesday in the House of European History in Brussels.

The ceremony was attended by Culture Minister Bisera Kostadinovska-Stojchevska and Skopje Mayor Danela Arsovska, among others.

“Designating Skopje as a European Capital of Culture for 2028 represents a great success for our country, especially considering the ambitions we have as a country striving for full EU membership,” Culture Minister Bisera Kostadinovska-Stojchevska told MIA following the event on the announcement of the 2028 European Capital of Culture.

Budva and Skopje have been shortlisted in the competition for the title of European Capital of Culture 2028.

“I want to thank the team of the City of Skopje and the mayor for giving us the opportunity to work together and win this title. First, congratulations to the creative and artistic team that showed that Skopje and our country have something to be proud of when we talk about culture,” Kostadinovska-Stojchevska said.

After a two-day meeting in Brussels, the chairperson of the European Capitals of Culture Expert panel announced on Wednesday that the city of Skopje (North Macedonia) has been recommended for the European Capital of Culture 2028 title in an EFTA/EEA country, candidate country or potential candidate to EU membership.

After yesterday’s presentation of the applications of the countries that were shortlisted for this prestigious title, Minister Kostadinovska-Stojchevska also delivered remarks.

“Skopje is prepared to respond to the challenge. In fact, Skopje seems to have been created over the centuries for this challenge. Under the European and Macedonian flag, we will raise the creative energy so that it spreads across the entire continent. Is there a better place for that than Skopje?, Kostadinovska-Stojchevska noted.

She noted that all Skopje natives and all Macedonian citizens, regardless of their ethnic, religious, gender, social, cultural and any other determination, are united in the happiness that their city, our Skopje, will open its gates wide and with its culture embrace the culture of Europe.

“From the centre of Europe, directly in the heart of the Balkans,” Minister Kostadinovska-Stojchevska noted.

She added that in this capital project for every city and country in Europe, investments are made years in advance and after the end of the year of the manifestation, therefore, the City of Skopje and the Government presented at this presentation the common views on combining all infrastructural and personnel capacities, as well as the necessary means to fulfil the requirements and European standards for a successful presentation and affirmation of the country’s cultural, social, economic and touristic values before the world.

“Recognizing the essence, the value, but also the meaning of the title European Capital of Culture, the Government, through the Ministry of Culture, has committed to unreservedly provide financial, personnel and infrastructural support. All national institutions and institutions of culture will be at the service of “Skopje 2028”,” Kostadinovska-Stojchevska said.

The mayor of Skopje, Danela Arsovska, who was also present at the ceremony, pointed out that the City to win this title presented itself under the motto “Culture over division” and won the heart of Europe with its presentation.

“Our team worked dedicatedly on the program that we presented, and we had strong support from the Ministry of Culture and the Minister Bisera Kostadinovska-Stojchevska, we received support from the Government, from the President of Macedonia, but also from a large number of our and foreign sister cities, with whom we actively cooperated over the past two years and who gave support and practically pledged for us that we have the opportunity, strength and ability to realize this program in 2028,” Arsovska told MIA.

“This selection is a prestigious recognition for all of us, Skopje is part of Europe, and in the years that follow until 2028, Europe will unite with Skopje through the prism of culture and art. Our vision that won today includes the youth and creative industries, related to eco-practices as innovation in all processes and cultural events that will take place 365 days in Skopje,” Arsovska added.

She said that the program will begin to be implemented as early as January 2024 and during the following years, united national and European artists will participate in hundreds of cultural events that will culminate in 2028.

The European Capital of Culture action is an initiative of the European Union that highlights the richness and diversity as well as common cultural aspects in Europe.

The goals of this initiative are more relevant than ever to provide Europeans with opportunities to learn more about each other’s cultures; to enjoy their shared history and values; to experience the feeling of belonging to the same European community; to develop European cultural connections and partnerships and to underline the role of culture in the development of cities.