KAUNAS - European Capitals of Culture need more visibility, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel said on Tuesday during her visit to Lithuania's second-largest city of Kaunas that was a European Capital of Culture last year.
She met with the ECC project team and said Kaunas' ECC year was a "big success" reflected by thousands of events and partnerships.
"We now have so many outstanding and successful Capitals of Culture that I see the challenge as how to give them more visibility," the commissioner told BNS. "I am going to take care of that as I had a great idea to organize an event in Brussels where they can showcase what they are doing and how useful and positive it is."
The second challenge, she said, is to build "a really strong network" among cities that are getting ready to become ECCs and those that have already held the title.
ECCs send a great message to young people that they can express their creativity at home without having to look abroad, Gabriel said.
Lithuanian Culture Minister Simonas Kairys said that even though the ECC year was over, Kaunas still has its own continuous mission of talking about "Europeanness, values".
Lithuanian Minister of Education, Science and Sport Jurgita Siugzdiniene also met with the visiting commissioner and said that the visit symbolically brought education and culture together, which was also seen as an important factor for innovation in the context of Kaunas as the European Capital of Culture.
In Vilnius, Gabriel also talked about regional development, and she also visited cultural and heritage sites and discussed major cultural initiatives in Kaunas.