The overall strength of the European programming in Paris in the 1980s was built on the open-doors policy to foreign artists (e.g. Rudolf Nureyev, Robert Wilson, Peter Brook) and its well-established arrangements for importing foreign productions, especially in the field of drama and dance (e.g. through the Chatelet and the Theatre de la Ville de Paris). Of course, this gives substance to the claim that Paris already played an important role in the diffusion of European culture. The designation European City of Culture might have been deployed to make this better understood at home and abroad.
Source: European Cities of Culture and Cultural Months, Full Report: Unabridged Version, John Myerscough, October 1994