It has received this award from the hands of the International Jury together with the Italian city of Genoa.
The former Presidents of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani and José María Gil Robles, took part in an act of recognition that reinforces San Sebastian's commitment to an original and supportive Christmas campaign.
As of today, Friday 3 June, the city of San Sebastian is officially "European Christmas Capital 2022", a title it will share with the Italian city of Genoa. This award, established in 2017, is sponsored by the European Parliament and recognises Christmas campaigns that defend values such as peace, coexistence, integration and harmony. These values are at the heart and origin of the European project. The award ceremony took place in the plenary hall of the Donostia City Hall.
The former President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, said in his speech that the award is "a powerful element of integration and knowledge of the values of Europe among its citizens". Another member of the International Jury, the actress Mercedes Guillamón, read out the Award Ceremony, recognising the high technical quality of the Christmas campaigns in Genoa and San Sebastián.
The title of European Christmas Capital was presented by the former German Ambassador to Spain, Henning Wegener, and was collected by the Mayor of San Sebastian, Eneko Goia, and the Councillor for Economic Development, Marisol Garmendia, who as head of Development is responsible for the city's Christmas campaign.
Eneko Goia thanked the city for the recognition as it places it "in a space in which we share values with other European cities. Christmas is more than just a festive season. It is associated with a series of values that are shared by millions of people in the western world, and which unite people from different origins and geographies". For the Mayor, "the fact that Donostia is recognised as the capital of Christmas is a recognition that we welcome with pride and which we will show off when the time comes".
For her part, Marisol Garmendia indicated that "this distinction consolidates the city as a tourist destination at Christmas and will strengthen the attraction of a programme that has already managed to reach 2 million visitors".
The city of Genoa also received the award, which was presented by the Mayor of Medina de Rioseco, David Esteban, a town in the province of Valladolid which has already received this distinction on previous occasions. It was collected by a representative of the Department of Trade and Tourism of the Comune of Genoa, Sandra Torre. The mayor of this Italian town, Marco Bucci, took part in the event by telephone, taking advantage of the award and also congratulating San Sebastian.
The event was closed by José María Gil Robles, the first Spanish President of the European Parliament, who said that "after the pandemic, which has demonstrated the importance of Europe in solving citizens' problems, we are returning to the European Christmas Capital Award in the hope of sharing the values of solidarity that the Christmas season inspires in us".
The event was attended by representatives of the municipal groups that make up the board of directors of Fomento, Donostia Kultura, Donostiako Festak, Donostia San Sebastián Turismoa, Kursaal, Victoria Eugenia Theatre, the San Sebastián Shops Association, the Hotel Association, Aspagi Hotel Association, Federación Mercantil, Zaharrean, Auzoa, Arcco Shopping Centre, markets such as La Bretxa and San Martín, the Asociación Belenista de Gipuzkoa, as well as the sponsors of Christmas in San Sebastian, which last year were Basquetour, Eroski, Hotel María Cristina, Moyúa, Grupo Campezo, Amenabar, Garbera, as well as some of the members of the Gabonetako Azoka.
The award ceremony for the cities of San Sebastian and Genoa also marks the beginning of the presentation of candidatures for the European Christmas capitals and cities for the celebration of Christmas in 2023. For this year's edition, the organisation has decided to include Ukraine as a new country with a special European relationship, as a symbol of reconciliation and peace, which are the two main values that inspire this distinction.