By Humphrey Carter

THE Palma and the Balearic Islands' bid to be crowned European Capital of Culture 2016 was officially registered with the Central Government's delegation to the Balearics yesterday and now becomes the 16th area of Spain bidding for the title which is designated by the European Union for a period of one calendar year during which it is given a chance to showcase its cultural life and cultural development.

The project, which has been drawn up by the founder of the initiative and President of the Association Palma Illes Balears 2016, Hubert Georg Feil, has been working on the idea for the best part of a year now and has managed to secure the full support, backing and cooperation of 1'900 local organisations, businesses and administrational departments such as the Chamber of Commerce's of Minorca and Majorca.

A number of key international Majorcan residents such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, have also been helping. He apparently played an important part in Liverpool's successful bid in 2008.

Feil considers securing the honour of being European Capital of Culture “will be an important step forward for the Balearics.” A number of European cities have used the City of Culture year to transform their cultural base and, in doing so, the way in which they are viewed internationally. During the first two decades, cities were chosen primarily based on cultural history, scheduled events and the ability to provide infrastructure and financial support. A 2004 study by the European Commission by Robert Palmer (Palmer Study) demonstrated that the choice of European Capital of Culture served as a catalyst for the cultural development and the transformation of the city.

Consequently, the beneficial socio-economic development and impact for the chosen city are now also considered in determining the chosen cities and this is what has attracted the Chamber of Commerce, the business community and the regional government bodies.

Juan Gaul de Torrella Guasp, the President of the Majorcan Chamber of Conmerce, yesterday called on all of the Balearics to “row togather in the same direction” stressing the importance winning the bid will mean for the region in the future. The project is based on a number of key concepts, Europe and the Mediterranean, Time is Green, New Tourism and the Art of Travelling, Centres of Thinking, Children of the Mediterranean, Creative City and Digital revolution, Islands of Culture, Islands of Spirituality, Identity and Participation.

The slogan for the campaign is “Palma de Mallorca and the Invisible Islands”.
The final decision will be made early in 2012.


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