Tallinn, which is set to become the European Capital of Culture next year, may miss out on a major grant that had already been incorporated into the event's budget.
TALLINN - The city of Tallinn is facing the possible loss of a 23 million kroon EU grant ahead of the city's European Capital of Culture events next year.
Tallinn failed to receive the 23.5 million krooni Mercury Prize from the EU in April as organizers could not provide a funding guarantee from either the state or the municipal government. The city will have until June 28 to provide the funding guarentees.
The "Mercour prize", a direct EU grant, has been included in this year's budget revenues of the city, but at present its payment is doubtful. In April the European Commission paid a similar amount to the Finnish town of Turku that is the second Culture Capital in 2011.
The news of Tallinn's failure to secure the grant has been met with a cascade of criticism from local commentators.
“What has happened in the preparations for the Tallinn Culture Capital is naturally extremely inappropriate, but it is not surprising” said Andrus Kivirähk, a popular Estonian writer, in Eesti Päevaleht.
Tallinn's year long title of "European Capital of Culture" is set to coincide with the euro, a match-up that city officials hope will provide a major boost to tourism and FDI.
The city is desperate to avoid suffering the same fate as Vilnius in 2009, where poor management led to significantly lower-than-expected turnout and the cancellation of a number of key events.