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"Culture 2000" Programme

The aim of the Culture 2000 programme, which combines the old "Raphaël", "Kaleidoscope" and "Ariane" programmes, is to develop a common cultural area by promoting cultural dialogue, knowledge of the history, creation and dissemination of culture, the mobility of artists and their works, European cultural heritage, new forms of cultural expression and the socio-economic role of culture. "Culture 2000" supports transnational cooperation projects which involve cooperation between creative artists, cultural operators and the cultural institutions of the countries participating in the programme. This programme is replaced by the Culture 2007 programme.


Decision No 508/2000/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 February 2000 establishing the Culture 2000 programme [See amending acts].


For the European Union, the first framework programme in support of culture is an opportunity to implement a new approach to Community cultural action, enabling it to respond to today's challenges and to meet the aspirations of both the European public and the cultural sector itself. The in-depth consultations undertaken by the Commission as part of the preparation of the framework programme clarified the role of culture in meeting the great challenges now facing the European Union. A broad consensus emerged between the Member States, Members of Parliament, the Commission, international organisations (Council of Europe, UNESCO) and cultural organisations that the concept of culture also covers popular culture, mass-produced culture and everyday culture.

It is for the above reasons that culture is closely associated with the responses that are needed to meet major contemporary challenges, such as the acceleration of European integration, globalisation, the information society, employment and social cohesion.

Since the Treaty on European Union was signed, the Community has taken a number of initiatives, through which it has:

  • shown that, apart from its achievements in the economic and monetary fields, the European project extends to the entirety of European society and must involve European citizens to a greater extent;
  • started to integrate the cultural dimension into those of its decisions which have an impact on culture;
  • implemented the first three programmes encouraging cultural cooperation in the arts (Kaleidoscope), literature (Ariane) and heritage (Raphael);
  • helped develop relations between culture, the culture industries and employment, on the basis of the Commission's work showing the importance of cultural activities in society and the potential for job creation that they represent.

The Culture 2000 programme

The Culture 2000 programme is a single programming and financing instrument for Community measures in the field of culture for the period from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2006.

The Culture 2000 programme enhances the cultural area common to Europeans by promoting cooperation between creative artists, cultural operators and the cultural institutions of the Member States. It therefore furthers the promotion of creativity, the transnational dissemination of culture, the movement of creators, other cultural operators and professionals and their works. Culture 2000 emphasises the role of culture as an economic factor and as a factor in social integration and citizenship. The Culture 2000 programme furthers a linkage with measures implemented under other Community policies which have cultural implications.

The programme's objectives are achieved by the following actions:

  • specific innovative and/or experimental actions involving operators from at least three participating countries. These actions aim mainly to encourage the emergence and spread of new forms of cultural expression, improve access to culture, in particular for young people and the underprivileged, and promote live broadcasting of cultural events using the new technologies of the information society;
  • integrated actions covered by structured, multiannual cultural cooperation agreements. These agreements are between cultural operators from at least five participating countries and their aim is to create, within a period of up to three years, structured cultural actions which help to achieve an objective of cultural interest which has been set in advance. The cooperation agreements relate either to enhancing a cultural field or to integrating several cultural sectors;
  • special cultural events with a European and/or international dimension. These events must be substantial in scale and scope and must help to increase the sense of belonging to the same community (such as the "European Capital of Culture" initiative).

The funding for the implementation of the Culture 2000 programme for the period 2000-2006 is set at EUR 236.5 million. The annual appropriations will be authorised by the budgetary authority within the limit set by the financial perspective. This budget is broken down as follows:

  • a maximum of 45 % for specific innovative and/or experimental actions;
  • a minimum of 35 % for integrated actions;
  • 10 % for special cultural events;
  • 10 % for other expenditure.

The Commission is responsible for implementing the Culture 2000 programme, assisted by an advisory committee. Member States may use Commission financial assistance to open cultural contact points (CCPs) on a voluntary basis. These are responsible for promoting the programme, facilitating access to it and encouraging participation, and also for providing an efficient link with the various institutions providing aid to the cultural sector in the Member States.

Operators from 30 European countries are currently participating in the "Culture 2000" Programme: the 25 Member States of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom), the three countries of the European Economic Area (EEA - Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and the candidate countries (Bulgaria and Romania).

By 31 December 2005 at the latest, the Commission will present to the European Parliament and the Council a detailed assessment of the results obtained by the "Culture 2000" Programme. This will allow Parliament and the Council to consider the proposal for a new framework programme, announced for 2004 and planned to start in 2007.

The Commission will regularly determine the priorities needed to implement the programme.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision No 508/2000/EC



OJ L 63 of 10.3.2000

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision No 626/2004/EC [adoption: codecision COD/1998/0169]



OJ L 99 of 3.4.2004

Decision No 786/2004/EC



OJ L 138 of 30.4.2004


Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - Report on the Second External Interim Evaluation of the Culture 2000 Programme [COM(2006) 666 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

The conclusion of this external evaluation is positive, as the evaluator concludes that the programme has achieved its goals and provided an adequate mechanism for promoting cultural cooperation in Europe. The programme has generated momentum and been an important catalyst for ideas. Organisations participating in the Culture 2000 programme have had a number of advantages, such as experience in the cultural field at European level, enhanced management skills, improved organisational and individual capacity, and strengthened links between European cultural operators. Between 2000 and 2004, 1 072 projects received funding. In financial terms, the programme fills a gap in funding for transnational cooperation. A 5 % rule was introduced, requiring a minimum contribution towards the total budget from project leaders and co-organisers. However, the evaluator makes some recommendations concerning the need to increase the visibility of both the programme and the projects funded under it. The budget allocated to the dissemination and promotion strategy was felt to be inadequate.

Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - Report on the implementation of the "Culture 2000" Programme in the years 2000 and 2001 [COM(2003) 722 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

While continuing to be complementary to other Community actions and the cultural policies of the Member States, the Culture 2000 programme has made an exceptional contribution to cultural cooperation in Europe. In 2000 and 2001, more than 1 600 applications were submitted under the programme, of which approximately one quarter received funding. Most of the cultural operators receiving funding were relatively small in terms of organisational capacity (budget and staff). The funded projects were managed by a wide variety of organisations (NGOs, national cultural institutions, private enterprises, etc.).

The requirement introduced in 2001 of 5 % financial participation by all co-organisers was a good instrument to ensure the active participation of all cultural operators in the projects, although it may have discouraged the creation of partnerships with no prior history of cooperation and deterred some cultural operators in the associated countries from participating in the programme. The number of applications under the programme declined significantly in 2001. The 'top five' countries in terms of financing received were France, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Spain. With the exception of Liechtenstein, all participating countries set up a cultural contact point (CCP).

See also

Further information may be obtained from the website of the Directorate-General for Education and Culture and from the Culture portal.

Last updated: 01.03.2007