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European capital of culture

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The designation "European Capital of Culture" helps to highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures and the features they share and facilitates greater mutual acquaintance between European Union citizens.

ACT

Decision No 1419/1999/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 May 1999 establishing a Community action for the European Capital of Culture event for the years 2005 to 2019 [ee amending acts].

SUMMARY

Under the Decision, a city will be chosen every year from 2005 onwards as "European Capital of Culture". The procedure will be as follows (Article 2):

  • four years before the event is due to begin, the Member State concerned (see Annex I to Decision No 649/2005/EC) will send a nomination or nominations, possibly accompanied by a recommendation, to the European Parliament, the Council, the Commission and the Committee of the Regions;
  • the Commission will each year form a selection panel which will issue a report on the nomination or nominations. Parliament may forward an opinion to the Commission not later than three months after receipt of the report;
  • on a recommendation from the Commission drawn up in the light of Parliament's opinion and of the selection panel's report, the Council will designate a European Capital of Culture for the year in question.

From 2009 onwards, the European Capital of Culture will be designated taking account of the enlargement of the European Union to 25 Member States and the list contained in Annex I to Decision No 649/2005/EC. The chronological order may be altered by mutual agreement between the Member States concerned.

The nomination must include a cultural project of European dimension, based principally on cultural cooperation in accordance with the objectives and action provided for by Article 151 of the Treaty (formerly Article 128). The project may be organised in association with other European cities.

The application must specify how, within the scope allowed by the theme, the applicant city intends (Article 3):

  • to highlight artistic movements and styles shared by Europeans which it has inspired or to which it has made a significant contribution;
  • to promote events involving people active in culture from other cities in Member States of the European Union and leading to lasting cultural cooperation, and to foster their movement within the European Union;
  • to ensure the mobilisation and participation of large sections of the population;
  • to encourage the reception of citizens of the European Union and reach as wide an audience as possible by employing a multimedia, multilingual approach;
  • to promote dialogue between European cultures and those from other parts of the world;
  • to exploit the historic heritage, urban architecture and quality of life in the city.

The initiative is open to non-member countries in Europe. Any such country may nominate one city and notify the nomination to Parliament, the Council, the Commission and the Committee of the Regions. The Council, acting unanimously on a recommendation from the Commission, will officially designate one of these nominated cities as European Capital of Culture for each year, bearing in mind the desirability of four years' preparation time (Article 4).

Each city is to organise a programme of cultural events highlighting its own culture and cultural heritage as well as its place in the common cultural heritage, and involving people concerned with cultural activities from other European countries with a view to establishing lasting cooperation (Article 5).

Each year the Commission must produce a report evaluating the results of the previous year's event, and present it to Parliament, the Council and the Committee of the Regions.
The Commission may also make any proposals for the revision of the Decision that it judges necessary for the smooth operation of the initiative (Article 6).

The European Union may contribute financially to the European Capital of Culture through its Culture 2000 framework programme by supporting individual events with a particular European dimension as part of the programme of festivities.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision No 1419/1999/EC--L 166 of 01.07.1999

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision No 649/2005/EC26.05.2005-L 117 of 04.05.2005

RELATED ACTS

Council Decision 2005/815/EC of 14 November 2005 on the European Capital of Culture event for the year 2009 [Official Journal L 305 of 24.11.2005]
For 2009, the Council has designated two European Capitals of Culture: Linz (Austria) and Vilnius (Lithuania).

Council Decision 2004/659/EC of 27 May 2004 on the European Capital of Culture event for the year 2008 [Official Journal L 301 of 28.09.2004]
For 2008, the Council has designated two European Capitals of Culture: Liverpool (UK) and Stavanger (Norway).

Council Decision 2004/654/EC of 27 May 2004 on the European Capital of Culture event for the year 2007 [Official Journal L 299 of 24.09.2004]
For 2007, the Council has designated two European Capitals of Culture: Luxembourg and Sibiu (Romania).

Council Decision 2003/399/EC of 6 May 2002 on the designation of the European Capital of Culture 2006 [Official Journal L 139 of 06.06.2003]
The Greek city of Patras has been designated European Capital of Culture for 2006.

Council Decision of 7 May 2002 on the designation of the European Capital of Culture 2005 [Official Journal C 124 of 25.05.2002]
The city of Cork has been designated European Capital of Culture for 2005.

Council Decision of 17 December 1999 on the appointment by the Council of the members of the selection panel for the 'European Capital of Culture' Community action [Official Journal C 9 of 13.01.2000]
Since 2000, the Commission has appointed a selection panel every year to establish a report on the application(s) submitted with regard to the objectives and features of this action. This panel comprises high-level independent experts in the cultural field and submits its report to the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council. The European Parliament may address an opinion to the Commission on the application(s) within three months of receipt of the report.

Last updated: 10.01.2006
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