Candidate Cities Network & First Conference


The city of Cluj-Napoca invites all current and former bidding cities to become its partners in founding a Network of Candidate Cities. The network aims to become a platform supporting a sustainable approach to ECoC planning with the view to facilitate and encourage ECoC programme implementation regardless of the competition results.

Cluj-Napoca has applied for the title of European Capital of Culture, without being selected. Cluj-Napoca 2021, the association that managed the candidacy, was reorganised as Cluj Cultural Centre (CCC). The City and the Community have given CCC a mandate to proceed with the implementation of the proposed ECoC programme.

Our membership increased after the title announcement, and our programme and budget remain the same. In 2017, CCC is in the set-up phase of its programme, revisiting the projects, piloting some of the activities and making the necessary preparations for the general implementation in 2018-2020. More details can be found at

Please find below a draft concept paper of the Network and an invitation to join the Network’s First Conference in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, during 22-23 September 2017. The conference will be a place for all of us to contribute to the shaping of the Network and also a training, networking and partnership marketplace for all the cities that acknowledge the role of culture in sustainable urban development.
Conference attendance is free of charge.

The organisers offer free meals and accommodation (for two nights) to one participant from each of the first 12 cities that register for the conference. Participants are expected to cover their own travel expenses.

We offer assistance in booking accommodation and meals to all other interested participants (second representatives of the first 12 registered cities and participants from cities beyond the 12 subsidized places).

The Candidates Cities Network First Conference is organised by Cluj Cultural Centre and Cluj Municipal House of Culture.

Confirmed cities (updated on September 18): Guimaraes 2012 (PT) , Košice (SK), Matera 2019 (IT), Eleusis 2021 (GR), Alba Iulia (RO), Arad (RO), Cluj-Napoca (RO), Timișoara 2021 (RO), Sfântu Gheorghe (RO), Târgu Mureș (RO), Plunge (LT), Klaipeda (LT), Debrecen (HU), Belfast (UK), Leeds (UK), Aveiro (PT), Braga (PT)

To book a seat, please send a show of interest to us via email.

Contact person: Alexandra Hoștină, Event Manager –

What is this Network? Draft concept paper below

First conference of the Network – agenda below




90% of the cities that bid for the title of European Capital of Culture are not awarded the title. However, all these cities develop strong cultural strategies and establish mechanisms for cultural planning and citizen participation. Moreover, these cities manage to raise significant budgets for the implementation of their programme: a multiannual integrated plan contributing to local and European development. All these efforts are usually lost after not gaining the title, as the European Capital of Culture project is a competition in which the winner takes it all.



The mission of the network is to have more ECoC programmes implemented.


  1. Because, whether being ECoC labelled or not, all cities need support and inspiration in order to carry on with the implementation of their programmes;
  2. Because this Network can contribute to the success and legacy of the ECoC project;
  3. Because more European cultural programmes give more power to address European issues.


  1. Free access to the annual Network conference: a 2-day training and partnership European marketplace;
  2. Free access to the Network’s online platform: a database with projects in ECoC programmes, with contacts for partnerships and a communication tool for the members of the Network;
  3. Free access to the Network’s capacity building programme for cultural cities: an annual training programme built on the needs of the members and funded through suitable European grants.


  1. Available for former and current ECoC candidate cities;
  2. No membership fees in the first 2 years (2017-2019);
  3. One single organisation per city is accepted as member. It needs to be officially endorsed by the Municipality.


The suggested governing body of the Network is a 5-people Board elected by members for a period of two years. The Board makes the decisions. Cluj Cultural Centre hosts the Secretariat and an annual conference of the Network. The host city of the Secretariat changes every two years.

22-23 September 2017 | Cluj-Napoca, Romania


9.30 – 9:45 –  Registration

9:45 – 10.15 Conference Opening

  • Welcome Address: Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca
  • Enlarging the Legacy of European Capitals of Culture Programme: Vincent LAMBOTTE, Head of the Communication Section, The European Commission Representation in Romania
  • Proposal for a Candidate Cities Network: Florin Moroșanu, Director, Cluj-Napoca Municipal House of Culture and former ECoC bid manager

10:15 – 11.15 Keynote

  • Lessons from the Future: Steve Green, former Chair of the ECoC Panel

11:15 – 11:45 Coffee break

11.45 – 12:45 Keynote

  • Articulating the right to the city. The role of culture: Norbert Petrovici, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Babeș-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca

12:45 – 14:15 Lunch

14:15 – 16:00 The Practice of ECoC Criteria, During and After the Candidacy

  • Contribution to the Long Term Strategy: Rarița Zbranca, Programme Director of Cluj Cultural Centre
  • European Dimension: Simona Neumann, Executive Director, Timișoara 2021
  • Cultural and Artistic Content: Kelly Diapouli, Artistic Director, Eleusis 2021
  • Outreach: Carlos Martins, Executive Director, Guimarães 2012

16:00 – 16:30 Coffee break

16:30 – 18:00 Open Space for current and former ECoC candidates



10:00 – 11:00 Building the Candidate Cities Network. ECoC Candidacy as a Long Term Investment

  • Case Study: Cluj-Napoca 2021 – Ștefan Teișanu, Executive Director, Cluj Cultural Centre
  • Secondary Cities: Lubos Bisto (SK) – Local Operators’ Platform (LOCOP)

11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break

11:30 – 13:00 Building the Candidate Cities Network. Defining our mission together

  • Facilitated by: Carlos Martins, Former Executive Director Guimaraes 2012

13:00 – 14:30 Lunch

14:30 – 16:00 Building the Candidate Cities Network. How will we work together?

  • Facilitated by: András Farkas, Executive Director of the Network of European Youth Capitals

16.00 – 16.30 Conclusions and next steps

Evening programme: Getting to know the city of Cluj: artists, art spaces and cultural institutions

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