02/17/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/17/2023 10:33
Dear European Commissioner,
Dear Presidential Advisor,
Dear chairman of the county council,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear Timisoara residents,
It is a great honor to be in Timișoara today, to participate together in the opening ceremony of "Timișoara, European Capital of Culture for 2023".
Today we are writing a new page of history in Romania's dynamic European journey.
We made our debut as a member state of the European Union with the success of the city of Sibiu, the first Romanian host of the European Capital of Culture.
The lessons of Sibiu, a city I had the pleasure of returning to yesterday, confirmed the value added by carrying, for a year, alongside Luxembourg, the European culture flagship.
I am sure that Timișoara will follow the model and shine this year, as suggestively indicated by the motto "Shine your light - Light up the city!".
Timișoara is not only the martyr city that ignited the spark of freedom in 1989 - "Today in Timișoara, Tomorrow in the whole country!". Timișoara is the bridge city between cultural communities across Europe, which constantly emanates the vibrations of cooperation, dialogue, and creativity among its secular generations united in diversity.
In the current complex geopolitical context, we are going through amid Russia's war against Ukraine, the values of unity, solidarity, and cooperation between nations are all the more valuable. Culture empowers them as a universal form of expression of the consciousness enlightened by the desire for freedom of expression, cohesion, and peace.
Against this background and by its consistent experience in hosting and assisting refugees, Timișoara has demonstrated once more that it is the landmark citadel in promoting intercultural cooperation, acting in deep solidarity with Ukrainian artists and various cultural organizations
The designation as European Capital of Culture was marked by thorough preparations, initiated as early as 2015, and which involved going through some complex procedural stages and ticking off some laborious steps of submitting the application, pre-selection, monitoring the preparations, and, finally, taking over the actual title.
I take this opportunity to thank all government and local stakeholders involved in the designation process of Timisoara as the European Capital of Culture. I thank all stakeholders, civil society, and volunteers for their constant and sustained efforts. I assure them of the Romanian Government's continued human and material support.
I equally thank the European Commission for the support granted to Timisoara along the path toward winning this landmark title.
The European Capital of Culture has constantly proven that cultural policies are as important as technology, trade, and economy. A strong European identity cannot be built only on political declarations, treaties, and secondary law, but also on culture and cultural values. As one of the architects of the modern European Union [Jacques Delors] said: "you cannot fall in love with the Single Market" because a European consciousness cannot be built only on numbers. We need a soul of the Union, and our cultural and linguistic diversity can stand for it.
The exceptional cultural heritage, creativity, and richness opened, in 2007, Romania's path to the European Union and placed it at the forefront of the community's cultural values.
Currently, the same values give soul to Romania's strong European identity and support its ideals of development, prosperity, and access to the most representative economic organization in the world.
As of today, the martyr city, Timisoara, that ignited the spark of freedom in 1989, opens new bridges between cultural communities and exercises its European vocation - today in Timișoara, tomorrow in the whole of Europe.
I wish success to Timișoara and the people of Timișoara in their continued contribution to Romanian and European culture.