“It is with great pleasure and satisfaction that I am attending today the final act of the European Capital of Culture 2023. During the past year, the coveted title was shared by Veszprém in Hungary, Timișoarain Romania and Elefsina. Today the epilogue of a successful event is being written and the baton is passed to Bad Ischlin Austria, Bodo in Norway and Tartu in Estonia.
We finish in the same place where we started, at the iconic Acropolis Museum, where Elefsina took the baton a year ago. Here, in this ark of the universal values of culture and democracy, the solid foundations of our common European identity, which sprang here before shining throughout our continent and from there to the ends of the earth. At the starting point, in the birthplace of the now established institution of the Capital of Culture, the inspiration of Melina Mercouri was to take root and bring people, ideas and creations closer together.
This initiative had the rare luck to originate from the official state but was immediately embraced by civil society and the artistic community. It was thus transformed from an acquisition into a real European asset, expanding and spreading to ever larger audiences in outlying parts of our continent. And to demonstrate the unity of meaning that has run through its culture and creation over the centuries. For European culture is neither a succession nor a confluence of intellectual and artistic currents. On the contrary, it is a long-standing and profound cultural capital that remains both alive and vital, constantly nurturing innovation and creativity.
I believe that this is what permeated the philosophy and the message of 2023Eleusis.”