Mayor takes control of Timișoara European Capital of Culture project

There were some fireworks at the latest meeting of the Director’s Committee of the Timișoara Association 2021 – European Capital of Culture. After the new status was presented and not accepted by all board members, the mayor of Temesvár/Timișoara announced that the project will be taken over by City Hall. The municipality will withdraw from the association, leading to its dissolution and the establishment of a new structure in direct subordination to the mayor that will manage the Timișoara Capital of European Culture program.

This marks the end of the line for the Timișoara Association 2021 – Capital of European Culture. The members of the Management Committee had been called to Timișoara City Hall to discuss and approve the new status.

One of the provisions stipulated was that the executive director was to be essentially in direct subordination to the mayor of Timișoara, the latter having the power to discharge and appoint him in the function without being held accountable for such decisions.

Various members of the Management Committee asked that some points of the new status be discussed. These included Horațiu Rada, the president of the board; Adrian Negoiță, the representative of CJ Timiș on the board of managing directors; Mihai Gafencu, the representative of the cultural scene; and Claudiu Ilaș, the representative of the institutional cultural sector. At that moment, the mayor announced that Timișoara City Hall will entirely assume the Capital of European Culture project.

“From this moment, the Timișoara European Capital of Culture will be taken over by the City Hall of Timișoara! I have a much greater responsibility than you! I have tens of thousands of votes, 53 percent of the population who voted in 2016, and I represent this city legally as well. Thus, we cannot let this project fail, and, therefore, it will be assumed by the Timișoara City Hall.” Mayor Nicolae Robu said. After explaining that the opportunity to be the European Capital of Culture comes around only once in a lifetime, the mayor left City Hall accompanied by vice-mayor Dan Diaconu.

Timișoara City Hall will now ask in Court to not be part of the Timișoara Association 2021 – European Capital of Culture, which will inevitably lead to its dissolution, as the municipality has been the greatest financier of the association from the time it was founded up until now.

The next step will be the creation of a new association or a department in subordination to City Hall, such as the city’s House of Culture. This entity will handle the project. The Timișoara European Capital of Culture project now appears to have one foot in the grave, and it remains to be seen if the municipality will be able to save some part of it under the leadership of the present mayor or another one elected at the upcoming local elections.

The European Union, however,in light of the coronavirus pandemic is currently considering whether to postpone this and next year’s events (the Galway-Rijeka dou in 2020 and Temesvár-Novi Sad in 2021) by one or two years.

Featured photo: Földrajz magazin


Author: Blanka Székely