On 3 December 2004, our two-thousand-year-old city of Tarragona decided to present its candidature as the 2016 European Capital of Culture by a unanimous vote of all the political parties in the city council.
According to the rules applicable between 2005 and 2019 for choosing the European Capital of Culture, in 2016 it will once again be Spain’s turn to provide the candidate. Since the programme began in 1985, Madrid (1992), Santiago de Compostela (2000) and Salamanca (2002) have been among the more than thirty European Cultural Capitals.
One of our objectives since we began to prepare the Tarragona 2016 campaign was for the candidature to be not just for our city, but for the whole of Catalonia. Today, we can proudly state that Tarragona 2016 is the candidature for the whole of Catalonia, for two fundamental reasons.
Firstly, on 11 April 2007, the six political groups that make up the Parliament of Catalonia unanimously agreed to support Tarragona’s candidature as the European Capital of Culture 2016. All six parliamentary groups voted in favour of a unitary resolution proposal in which “The Parliament of Catalonia urges the Government of the Generalitat of Catalonia to give its support, within the framework of its competences, to the candidature of Tarragona to become the European Capital of Culture 2016”.
On the other hand, Tarragona 2016 has received wide support from municipalities all over Catalonia. Up until September 2008, more than four hundred Catalan town councils had expressed their institutional support for the Catalan candidature as European Capital of Culture. Fifty of the municipalities that have given their support to Tarragona 2016 would like to become secondary venues, if our city’s candidature is successful. The municipalities that have so far expressed their support for Tarragona 2016 represent more than 70% of the population of Catalonia.
I should also like to mention the fact that important cultural bodies are supporting our candidature. Among the many institutions we have received support from are the Institute for Catalan Studies, Òmnium Cultural, the Liceu, the Orfeó Català, the Gala-Dalí and Miró foundations, overseas Catalan organisations, etc.
Tarragona 2016 is also seeking the support of our continental neighbours. To date, such diverse countries as Armenia, Germany, Slovakia, Portugal, Monaco, Latvia, Switzerland and Cyprus have expressed their desire to participate in Tarragona 2016, if our city is named European Capital of Culture.
Once it had been confirmed that Tarragona 2016 was the candidature for the whole of Catalonia and the main pillars of the proposal had been established, Tarragona 2016 was presented to the public in a ceremony held on 13 June 2008 in the city’s Congress Palace. The event was attended by more than a thousand people and served to begin gathering civic support for the candidature, a support that had already been expressed by important local entities such as the Rovira i Virgili University, the Port, the Tarragona Chemical Companies Association, PortAventura, etc.
In the sporting field, Nàstic, Tarragona’s football team, included the number 2016 in their equipment as a show of support for the European Capital of Culture candidature. During the 2006-2007 season, the Barça and Espanyol teams also expressed their support for Tarragona 2016 when Nàstic played in their stadiums.
Tarragona 2016 is also undertaking a significant amount of activity in the field of European and international projection. I should like to highlight our participation in the Frankfurt International Book Fair in 2007, which that year was dedicated to the Catalan culture.
The successful candidate for the European Capital of Culture 2016 will be chosen in 2012 and the candidature must be presented in 2011. This means we have approximately three years to complete our proposal, a project in which you are all invited to join and participate in, whether it be by giving your support or by contributing your ideas or proposals to the candidature.
On this website you will find information about Tarragona’s candidature to be named European Capital of Culture 2016, a project in which we hope everyone will feel fully involved.
Josep Fèlix Ballesteros
Mayor of Tarragona