Help Print this page 

Summaries of EU Legislation

Title and reference
European Capital of Culture

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
Languages and formats available
BG ES CS DA DE ET EL EN FR GA HR IT LV LT HU MT NL PL PT RO SK SL FI SV
HTML html ES html CS html DA html DE html EL html EN html FR html IT html HU html NL html PL html PT html RO html FI html SV
Multilingual display
Text

European Capital of Culture

 

SUMMARY OF:

Decision No 1622/2006/EC establishing the European Capital of Culture event for the years 2007 to 2019

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DECISION?

It sets up the ‘European Capital of Culture’ (ECoC) event and defines the process for selecting cities to hold the title between 2013 and 2019, as well as the system for monitoring the preparations up to the year of the event.

KEY POINTS

The cultural programme and its European dimension

Each candidate city’s file will include a cultural programme that must meet a number of criteria, divided into 2 categories:

  • ‘the European dimension’, which involves stepping up cooperation between cultural operators at all levels. The programme must also highlight the richness of Europe’s cultural diversity and the shared aspects of European cultures;
  • ‘the city and citizens’, designed to arouse public interest in the event at local, national and European levels and boost the city's long-term cultural development.

The programme normally lasts for 1 year. Cities whose preparations for the event are recognised as excellent may be rewarded with the Melina Mercouri Prize (named after the Greek Culture Minister who launched the Cultural Capital idea). It is awarded by the European Commission and financed by the Creative Europe programme).

Selection process

  • 2 EU countries per year can host the event.
  • The selection process comprises 4 stages:
  • 1.

    submission of applications: the EU countries concerned publish a call for applicants no later than 6 years before the event in question is due to begin. Interested cities have at least 10 months from this date to apply.

  • 2.

    pre-selection: no later than 5 years before the start of the event, the selection panel meets to examine the proposals and shortlist the cities that will be invited to pursue the process. This panel comprises 13 experts, 7 of whom are appointed for 3 years by the European Parliament, the Council, the Commission and the European Committee of the Regions. The remaining 6 are chosen by the EU countries concerned.

  • 3.

    final selection: 9 months after the first selection meeting, the panel meets again to examine the programmes of the shortlisted cities, which will have been fleshed out in more detail, and to recommend one of them as the ‘ECoC’. At this stage, the panel presents a report to the EU country concerned and to the Commission, in which it also makes recommendations to the chosen city.

  • 4.

    designation: 4 years before the start of the event, the 2 EU countries concerned by the year in question, present one city’s application to the European institutions, in the light of the panel’s recommendations. The Council officially designates one city as the ECoC in the 2 countries concerned.

Monitoring phase

  • Experts appointed by the institutions help the chosen capitals to implement their programmes, in particular by guaranteeing their European added value (i.e. that there is an added value resulting from the ECoC designation which would not have been created by the city (or its country) if they had been acting alone).
  • Mid-term monitoring takes place 2 years before the start of the event and relates to the progress made in the preparation and the European dimension.
  • Final monitoring takes place no later than 8 months before the event, during which the experts take stock and evaluate the preparatory work. They send a report to the Commission and to the cities concerned on their conclusions and their recommendation on whether or not to award the Melina Mercouri Prize.

Repeal

The decision has been repealed by Decision No 445/2014/EU which concerns the designation of cities from 2020 onwards. Decision No 1622/2006/EC continues to apply in the case of cities designated as ECoCs for the years from 2013 to 2019.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DECISION APPLY?

It has applied since 1 January 2007, apart from its Article 5 (on submitting applications) which has applied since 23 November 2006.

BACKGROUND

  • The ECoC event, launched by the Council in 1985, has become one of the EU’s most popular projects. Because of the high level of citizen participation and its cultural and socioeconomic impact, a growing number of cities now compete for the title every year.
  • For more information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENT

Decision No 1622/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 2006 establishing a Community action for the European Capital of Culture event for the years 2007 to 2019

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Decision No 445/2014/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 establishing a Union action for the European Capitals of Culture for the years 2020 to 2033 and repealing Decision No 1622/2006/EC (OJ L 132, 3.5.2014, pp. 1–12)

last update 27.07.2017

Top