Going for the finish line: local and international cooperation
Eger is in cooperation with 11 surrounding settlements and the Bükk National Park in the tender to win the title of „European Capital of Culture 2023”. The deadline for submissions was December 20, 2017. Eger’s tender was put together after a long preparatory period, drawing on the experience of local and international cultural forums and workshops. Lajos Koltai, artistic director of the tender, coordinated the efforts of the fine art, music, film and architectural teams to generate the tender’s artistic mission statement; Eger’s submission incorporates several local and international joint ventures. An excellent bid has been produced which is currently being translated; on completion it will be presented to the members of the international jury. The 12-person body of experts, will convene at the start of next year to pre-select the cities which may compete in the final selection process taking place in the second half of 2018. The winners will be announced at the end of next year.
The last stage of the tender calls for the initial efforts at cooperation of the preparatory stages to be made official. László Habis, the Mayor of Eger, signed the document of joint preparation for the tender together with the 11 civic leaders of the participating the regional settlements in Egerszalók on November 27. These settlements in the 2023 tender are: Andornaktálya, Bélapátfalva, Demjén, Egerszalók, Felsőtárkány, Maklár, Noszvaj, Novaj, Ostoros, Szarvaskő and Szilvásvárad.
Besides Eger’s more than half a million nights of hospitality annually, the 11 partner towns boast some one million such nights in addition to this, highlighted László Habis, Eger’s Mayor.
Eger’s splendid cultural and historical treasures, together with the marvellous natural assets of the towns surrounding the regional centre are a big draw for visitors. The Mayor of Eger added that the city had signed a cooperative agreement with Eszterházy Károly University as well as with most national cultural institutes and aims to also work with its twin towns abroad in the interest of success.
Ildikó Martonné Adler, Deputy Mayor who is the tender coordinator, has voiced a need for cooperation if the participants are to each share the benefits. At the commencement of the tender process, Eger’s General Assembly set its sights higher than merely formulating a cultural strategy, announcing one of both cultural and community building instead. The main aim was articulated as the cultivation of a discerning audience for cultural values. In addition to the many charms of the city of Eger, the region itself also represents a valuable asset: when it comes to cultural tourism, this area offers enough to keep visitors satisfied for several weeks.
Cooperation with the Directorate of the Bükk National Park
Mayor László Habis and Kálmánné Rónai, director of the Directorate of the Bükk National Park signed the cooperation agreement on November 28.
Prior to signing, director Kálmánné Rónai emphasised: The city of Eger and the Directorate of the Bükk National Park are continuously liaising with each other, the avenues of cooperation have been established. The National Park is headquartered in Eger, participates in the life of the local community and that of the region. However, going beyond the scope of the operation, several further fields of endeavour also link the city and the directorate, which functions as a budgetary body.
Mayor László Habis added that the volume of work between the Local Government and the Directorate of the Bükk National Park has increased considerably; visiting the park, town representatives familiarised themselves with activities linked to the national park. He stressed: Eger aims to be a prime target for tourism, which necessitates the mapping and showcasing of its natural assets. The Directorate of the Bükk National Park is engaged in a thorough, determined effort to affect developments at several locations in the area which will showcase natural assets as genuine attractions. Eger and the surrounding settlements also have a stake in the success of this endeavour.
Eger – besides focussing on its extant attractions – coordinates efforts to showcase such assets in its efforts to attain the status of a prominent touristic region that have already been government-approved or otherwise endorsed. One of these is the sum of over 13 billion forints, made available to Eger courtesy of TOP, The Area and Settlement Development Operative Program; this will fund the renovation of the Prince-Provost’s palace, the reopening of the Helyőrség Community Centre, and General János Lenkey’s birthplace. Renovation of the Serbian Greek orthodox Rác church or of Eszterházy square also feature on this list; the town is growing in assets, said László Habis. All this strengthens the case for Eger, as part of the ECoC tender.
He added: the Government’s Modern Cities Programme also supports our bid to claim the prestigious title of “European Capital of Culture 2023”. Eger’s odds are further improved by its direct motorway link, the construction of the intermodal hub and other transport development features.
The castle’s development is a similar issue as the work is already under way: both the Modern Cities Programme and the National Castle and Fort Programme (GINOP) provide a fitting framework to enable Eger to attain the rank of ECoC city and successfully run for the title of the European year of Culture in 2023.
The above are given further force by the decision on the part of the government which names the Eger Archdiocese as a beneficiary. As a result of this, the Basilica and the Archbishop’s Palace are both to be renovated.
Our efforts to elevate Eger to the status of a celebrated tourist destination incorporates both new developments and the showcasing of existing assets. Eger’s ECoC2023 tender focusses less on investments and more on assets. Our main task is to present an authentic view of the cultural assets in Eger which are worthy of recognition across Europe – said the Mayor of Eger.