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Culture programme (2007-13)

This decision establishes a financing and programming instrument for cultural cooperation for the period between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2013. It provides for a budget of EUR 400 million to develop transnational cultural cooperation between operators from European Union (EU) countries or non-EU countries participating in the programme. The aim of the Culture programme is to support cultural cooperation actions, European organisations active in the field of culture, as well as the collection and dissemination of information in the field of culture.


Decision No 1855/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 establishing the Culture Programme (2007 to 2013) [See amending act(s)].


Following the example of previous cultural programmes, the general objective of the Culture programme is to enhance the cultural area common to Europeans with a view to encouraging the emergence of European citizenship.

Three objectives

The programme has three central objectives with a significant European added value:

  • supporting the transnational mobility of professionals in the cultural sector;
  • encouraging the circulation of works of art and artistic and cultural products beyond national borders;
  • promoting intercultural dialogue.

To receive European Union (EU) support, the projects chosen will have to meet one or more of these objectives.

Three levels of intervention

In order to meet the above objectives, the Commission provides three levels of intervention, which respond to distinct needs:

  • support for cultural actions. This decision identifies three types of cultural action eligible for EU support:
  • support for organisations active in the cultural sphere. This assistance is for organisations that have genuine influence at EU level or cover at least seven European countries. Organisations may benefit from this support if they provide representation at EU level, disseminate information for facilitating cultural cooperation at EU level or participate in cultural cooperation projects by acting as ambassadors for European culture. The selection will be made following a call for proposals;
  • support for analyses, collection and dissemination of information and for the optimisation of the impact of projects in the area of cultural cooperation and policy development. The objective of this support is to increase the volume and quality of information and data on cultural cooperation and policy development at European level, as well as to promote their dissemination, including via the Internet. It is also aimed at ensuring targeted, local dissemination of practical information on the programme. For this purpose, culture contact points will be set up to promote the programme, encourage participation in the programme activities by as many professionals and operators in the cultural field as possible and provide an efficient link with the various institutions providing cultural support in EU countries.

A more user-friendly programme

The Commission entrusts the management of the programme to the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency and introduces simpler methods for beneficiaries. It intends to simplify forms and make the award procedure more transparent. It also wishes to apply the proportionality principle, while at the same time complying with the Financial Regulation in force.

Prevention of fraud

The Commission will continue to apply an audit system to check the use made of grants and to ask grant beneficiaries to provide supporting documents at any time for a period of five years. It also has access to the offices of beneficiaries and to all necessary information. The results of these audits may, where appropriate, lead to recovery decisions. The Court of Auditors and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) have the same rights.

Cooperation with non-EU countries

Subject to certain conditions, the programme is open to participation by:

  • the non-EU countries of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein);
  • candidate countries benefiting from a pre-accession strategy;
  • the countries of the western Balkans.

The programme is also open to cooperation with other non-EU countries that have concluded bilateral agreements with the EU that include cultural clauses.

Management, budget and evaluation

The Commission is assisted by a committee. Most of the implementation measures, and in particular those related to the support for cultural actions, must be adopted in accordance to the examination procedure.

The budget initially proposed for the period 2007-13 is EUR 400 million. Below is an indicative breakdown of this budget:

  • approximately 77 % for support for cultural actions;
  • approximately 10 % for support for organisations;
  • approximately 5 % for analysis and information;
  • approximately 8 % for programme management.

At the midway point, but not later than 31 December 2010, the Commission will publish the first interim evaluation report on the programme. This report will be followed by a communication on the continuation of the programme, not later than 31 December 2011. Finally, by 31 December 2015 at the latest, the Commission will present a final evaluation report.


The legal basis for EU action in the field of culture is Article 167 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. This article focuses on the promotion of cultural diversity and the common cultural heritage, while respecting the principle of subsidiarity. The Culture programme, which follows on from the “Culture 2000” programme and the former Raphael, Ariane and Kaleidoscope programmes, has been established within this framework.



Entry into force – Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision No 1855/2006/EC

28.12.2006 – 31.12.2013


OJ L 372 of 27.12.2006

Amending act(s)

Entry into force – Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision No 1352/2008/EC

25.12.2008 – 31.12.2013


OJ L 348 of 24.12.2008


Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 10 January 2011 – Interim evaluation report on the implementation of the Culture programme [COM(2010) 810 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 12.04.2011