EU office: Newsletter - November 2020

The European jury has made its decision: Chemnitz is to be a European Capital of Culture for 2025

The European jury has made its decision: Chemnitz is to be a European Capital of Culture for 2025

After six years, we at last have an answer. Chemnitz will take on the mantle of European Capital of Culture for Germany in 2025. And now that it has officially been named Capital of Culture, we can expect to see a great deal of change in the city over the next few years. The city’s second Bid Book set out its goals ‒ and now, thanks to the accolade and the funds that come with it, these goals will remain the focus over the long term.

An increased number of social and cultural projects are planned, in order to foster “Social Togetherness”. By encouraging residents to get actively involved, the city hopes to minimise problems and create a more positive impression of Chemnitz among its own inhabitants. “Cultural Vitality” in the city will be promoted by the provision of innovative spaces to stimulate creativity. Art-based events will also take place, with greater internationality and enhancement of the city’s digitalization aiming to raise awareness of the sector. In a European context, this could pave the way for other projects such as the newly-founded R-EU-FTOP network, funded by the Creative Europe Desk. The idea is to set up a festival within three years that will provide new cultural spaces for residents. From private rooftop terraces to the roof of the Stadthalle, any open space could become a venue for a diverse range of cultural activities.

Chemnitz is located close to the border with the Czech Republic. We therefore plan to promote “translocal European solidarity” and nurture a sense of European identity among the people of Chemnitz. During the Capital of Culture application process, we agreed a number of cultural partnerships with our twin cities of Ljubljana and Łódź, which will serve to enhance these goals. We expect this to lead to positive developments in tourism and demography, and to improve the image of Chemnitz ‒ which amongst other things will bring economic benefits for residents. Partnerships with creative professionals and cultural institutions from all over Europe will inspire the development of a cosmopolitan European Capital of Culture 2025 with an excellent quality of life.

The Future of Europe – solaris volunteers join the debate on 11 September

Online discussion as part of a meeting of the European Committee of the Regions (AdR)

Young people and local politicians from all over Europe held an online debate on “The Future of Europe: What Role Do Young People Play?” Two European volunteers who are currently completing their time with the European Solidarity Corps and Federal Volunteers Service at solaris FZU also took part. Has the political education of young people, and particularly their role in the future of Europe, been neglected? What kind of political education would encourage young Europeans to start volunteering? After the discussion, the five debaters met with Graziela Hennig, coordinator of International Projects/Migration/ESK at solaris FZU. Their aim was to come up with approaches for fostering stronger and more interactive local dialogue, and possibly even to kickstart new collaborative projects at European level.

Online meeting of the German-Polish Committee held in Łódź on 11 September

Introducing the ECOpact for Łódź, whose initia-tives fit with the European Green Deal themes

Hanna Zdanowska, President of the City of Łódź, and Marcin Gołaszewski, Łódź City Council Chairman, opened proceedings by welcoming the twin cities that had linked up. Topics under discussion at the German-Polish CEMR Committee included green revitalization and multiculturalism in Łódź and other cities. German and Polish participants also shared their thoughts on current issues such as assistance initiatives during the coronavirus crisis. The excellent working relationship with the German Embassy was also highlighted. The event closed with participants watching the film “A Walk around Łódź”.

18. European Week of Regions and Cities online in October 2020

Mayor Ralph Burghart at the online “Culture Be-yond Borders” workshop

Over the past 17 years, the European Week of Regions and Cities, organised by the Committee of the Regions and DG Regio, has become the biggest annual Brussels-based event devoted to cohesion policy. One of the online workshops, “Culture Beyond Borders”, was organized by the city of Chemnitz and was attended by six European partners (the Free State of Saxony, and the regions of Umbria and Lombardy, Pilsen, Timisoara and San Sebastian). Participants grappled with the question of how cultural initiatives can break down newly emerging borders in our minds and at local, regional and national level. Ralph Burghart, City of Chemnitz Mayor for Education, Social Affairs, Youth, Culture and Sport launched the event with a presentation of the “Chemnitz Region of Culture – European Capital of Culture 2025 candidate – strengthening cross-border cooperation”.

Future cultural perspectives for resilient cities

The online Culture Forum lead by Tampere on the future of culture in light of the current situation

Over 70 representatives from 50 European cities explored this issue at the EUROCITIES online Culture Forum on 8 October 2020. Lead by Tampere – where the meeting should actually have taken place – participants discussed the outlook in the light of the current situation, exchanged ideas on cultural resilience, and shared insights on local initiatives. The current crisis has put the cultural sector at risk: difficulties range from the possible withdrawal of support for cultural policy to the current slump being experienced by artists and cultural events. A city’s cultural resilience lies in its strategy and its strengths. So, for example, a library has been transformed into a place of social inclusion. Demonstrating this resilience, Birmingham introduced the West Midlands Culture Response Unit for COVID-19, while Leeds presented its “sustainable art” initiative. During the online forum, Dresden was elected as the new chair of the EUROCITIES Culture Forum, with Ljubljana appointed vice chair. At this point, special thanks were given to Espoo, which has been closely and actively involved with the work of the network over the last two years. The new website was presented to the Culture Forum. The face‑to‑face meeting in Tampere was postponed to 2021.

New digital EUROCITIES platform with website and members area

The EUROCITIES website has been given a revamp

The official website focuses on stories from the member states and on the cities themselves. Current reports, case studies and the latest news from the cities are all easily accessible. A list of member states also features on the homepage. The texts are attractively designed, written in a relaxed narrative style, and can be shared on social media. The site takes care to use high-quality photos when presenting the cities.

The new entry for the city of Chemnitz on the new EUROCITIES website

The members’ area also offers city representatives a handy digital workplace where they can easily access forums, working groups and projects. There is also a database available that can be directly accessed. Users can prepare documents online, sign up for events, and use online meeting tools (such as video and surveys). Functions including chats, comments, etc. are also available, as are materials such as EUROCITIES logos or presentations.

European Union updates on travel restrictions

Re-open EU – official European Union portal

In order to plan your travel safely during the coronavirus pandemic, the European Union is providing information for citizens via an official portal. The portal ‘Re-open EU’ offers up-to-date and interactive information relating to Covid-19 in all member states, in 24 languages. It provides an overview of the health situation and safety of each respective country, for example, and the issues to consider in terms of services. It also includes information on travel restrictions in and through specific countries, and details of websites and phone numbers that will provide assistance in relation to Covid-19. The portal makes every effort to ensure it has the latest information, and is updated frequently.

Overview of dates for 2021

1 to 9 May 2021  
Europe Week with Europe Day on 9 May

May 2021
European Neighbours’ Day

16 to 22 September 2021  
European Mobility Week

23 to 30 September 2021  
European Week of Sport

Around 15 October 2021
European Local Democracy Week

This year, the Federal Environment Agency is organising an online networking meeting for stakeholders in and organisers of the European Mobility Week: this will take place on 5 and 6 November 2020

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