In the next couple of weeks, the city authorities will make an assessment and evaluate, which parts of Banja Luka 2024 – European Capital of Culture project the city can further implement itself, given that Banja Luka was not named the European Capital of Culture fourteen days ago, said Mayor Igor Radojičić, after meeting with representatives of the Banja Luka 2024 team.
He stressed that a great deal of work had been done including a high quality project of Banja Luka candidacy for the ECoC in 2024.
“Almost the entire cultural scene of our city, together with Bihać and Jajce, our partners in this process, stood behind this project and showed a high level of unity for and around Banja Luka 2024 ECoC candidacy application. It would be a shame to throw all this energy and knowledge invested in the creation of the Bid Book content down the drain. That is why we have decided to carry on. The experiences of other cities that did not get awarded with the ECoC title, but had quality programmes, show that one can continue with their work further using a slightly different approach” – explained Radojičić.
He noted that in Brussels, during the final stage of this candidacy, Banja Luka was in competition with “a city from a country of incomparably greater financial capacity”.
“Although we think that our project was much more creative and, I dare say, better, it seems that logistics and geopolitics in the end prevailed,” said Radojičić.
The head of Banja Luka 2024 team, Marko Bilbija, said that almost the whole cultural scene in Banja Luka was involved in this project, one way or another, and that the project was entirely done in accordance with the Strategy of Cultural Development of Banja Luka 2018-2028, one of the conditions of this competition.
“We have been able to channel the enormous, positive energy that has gathered around this project. And by doing so, we have actually shown the capacity of our scene. Which obviously exists. Banja Luka 2024 Application, the so-called Bid Book, was developed in line with the Strategy of Cultural Development of Banja Luka 2018-2028, we created. Working on the ECoC project, a great foundation was laid, foundation that can now be upgraded. And with the great energy we managed to retain, despite the decision in Brussels, I must say that we are now ready to continue implementing the projects defined through the work done on Banja Luka 2024 application”, Bilbija said.