Košice isn't unknown to EU officials from Brussels, Polish MEP Piotr Borys said on Wednesday, July 17, during a visit by a delegation of MEPs to Slovakia's eastern metropolis during its stint this year as the European Capital of Culture (ECOC).
Borys said that Košice was doing well as the European Capital of Culture (ECOC) 2013. "We appreciate that not only City Hall, but the self-governing regional authority [KSK] too has joined the project, with KSK's Terra Incognita project showing that an entire region can be involved in the European Capital of Culture project," said the Polish MEP, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
He also praised a project involving the conversion of old heat exchanger stations into cultural points (or 'spots' as the City of Košice is calling them), which he described as unique and unheard of in Europe. "I also want to note that the Kulturpark culture centre is becoming a place where non-governmental organisations and creative companies can make use of their potential," said Borys.
Slovak MEP Katarína Neveďalová stated that Marseilles, which is this year’s other European Capital of Culture, had not prepared as well as Košice. "Some investment projects aren't finished, while others, like here, are currently being submitted," Neveďalová said, adding that Košice has done a good job in preparing the project.
However, MEPs also said that making the eastern Slovak city more accessible to foreign tourists, businesspeople and investors should be one of the main goals of the ECOC 2013, and proposed some steps to improve the local airport, which can handle international flights but has few scheduled services at present.
In September, regular flights between Košice and London will begin. Slovak MEP Monika Smolková told TASR that the EP is interested, too, in the development of regional airports, and the Slovak government could ask for support from European structural funds to boost the development of Košice Airport.
Košice vice-mayor Ján Jakubov stressed, as quoted by TASR, that the number of tourists in Košice had increased several times over in the recent past. “Our goal is for them not to spend just one day here, but to stay for several days,” Jakubov said, adding that many visitors fly to Budapest or Krakow, which makes a visit to Košice inconvenient. “Thus, it is in our interest to open a new direct air connection to another destination as soon as possible,” he concluded, adding that Germany is being considered for this.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
18. Jul 2013 at 14:00