EU Culture Documentation

   Overview of EU Cultural Programmes
   The EU and Culture: a Historical Outline and the Legal Basis
   Studies, Reports and Evaluations
   EU Cultural Policy: Selected Documents from the EU Commission
   Information Resources
   Contact Addresses



European Agenda for Culture

On 10 May 2007 the Commission of the European Community adopted the Communication for a European agenda for culture in a globalizing world. You find the Communication on

European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008

The European Commission has proposed that 2008 be declared the year of Intercultural Dialogue. With a budget of Euro 10 m projects in the fields of culture, education, sports, youth and citizenship are going to be financed fostering cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue to enhance the EU community.

Debate Europe

In 2006 the Debate Europe Discussion Forum: The Future of Europe was launched. In 3 forums
Europe's economic and social development
Feeling towards Europe and the Union's tasks
Europe's borders and its role in the world
citizens may debate about their ideas of the future of the European Union.

Europa fördert Kultur

The Internet portal "Europa fördert Kultur" [Europe promotes culture] offers an overview of about 90 support opportunities for cultural projects from the programmes of the European Union: (in german only)

   Overview of EU Cultural Programmes

      Culture 2007 - 2013
      Action Programme
      EU Audiovisual Policy and Support Programmes
      European (Capital) Cities of Culture      European Cultural Month

      Culture 2007 - 2013
The "Culture 2007-2013" programme contributes to the promotion of a cultural area common to the European peoples. In this context, it supports the cross-border mobility of people working in the cultural sector, encourages the transnational circulation of artistic and cultural works and products and intercultural dialogue.

The call for proposals for 2007 was published on 7th November 2006.
Supported fields are
1. Co-operation projects between European cultural organisations (annual and multi-annual), literary translations and special measures
2. subsidies for general administrative costs for European cultural organisations
3. Analyses, studies and informational works
Projects have to
- make use of new technologies in the process of artistic creation
- to provide European added value
- enable access by people to their own culture.
Applications must be sent to the Commission no later than 28 February 2007.
Applications may be submitted by organisations established in one of the following countries:
- the 27 member states of the European Union;
- the three EEA/EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway);
- Turkey, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
The specifications and the application forms are available on the following Commission's internet site:

For detailed information contact the cultural contact point of your country. Please find here a list of the cultural contact points:


       EU Audiovisual Policy and Support Programmes
Policy in the Audiovisual Sector
Since the early 1980s the European Parliament has regarded media policy questions as also being cultural policy questions. Thus at the beginning of the 1980s on the proposal of the then still relatively insignificant parliament, Europe's own television channel was set up in order to support and promote the European consciousness of the Europeans. In 1984 with the Green Paper on "Television without Frontiers", a major document on EEC media policy was published.

In 1989 the EU television directive was agreed, which prescribes an obligatory minimum ratio of European programmes in order to counter US-American audiovisual dominance. In the meantime, the television directive has been amended several times. For more information please refer to:

A very important objective of EU AV policy has always been the creation of a common European audiovisual space, and to this end the Media programme, currently already in its fourth stage (each of five years) as MEDIA PLUS, has existed since 1986. You can learn more on current EU audiovisual policy on the website of the DG Education and Culture at:

MEDIA 2007
In 2007 the MEDIA 2007 programme was established. The MEDIA 2007 programme is the continuation of MEDIA (1986-1990), MEDIA I (1991-1995), MEDIA II (1996-2000) and MEDIA PLUS (2001-2006). MEDIA 2007 runs from 2007 until 2013 and has a budget of Euro 755m. MEDIA 2007 provides support on five levels:

  • Training (management; scriptwriting; new technology)
  • Development (individual projects; funding)
  • Distribution (cinema support; specific TV support; online sales)
  • Promotion (access to the market; databases; festivals)
  • Pilot projects (cinematographic historical heritage; digitalisation of archives; special channels; online distribution services).
Complete information and call for proposals documents can be found on the Media website:

Please find the proposal concerning the implementation of MEDIA 2007 at

Personal advice and information concerning MEDIA PLUS can be received from the Media Desks in all EU states:

MEDIA Desk Austria
MMag. Gerlinde Seitner
Österreichisches Filminstitut
Stiftgasse 6
A-1070 WIEN
Tel.: 01/526 97 30-406
Fax: 01/526 97 30-460


The European (Capital) City of Culture
The EU cultural programme of the European City of Culture has existed since 1985. It goes back to an initiative of the one-time Greek minister of culture Melina Mercouri. It concerns a major annual event aimed at highlighting the cultural richness and cultural diversity of European cities while emphasising their common cultural heritage and the vitality of their achievements. In order to enable the new Member States to participate as soon as possible to this action, the Commission presented in November 2003 a proposal which completes the chronological order for nominations from New Member States.

1985: Athens
1986: Florence
1987: Amsterdam
1988: Berlin
1989: Paris
1990: Glasgow
1991: Dublin
1992: Madrid
1993: Antwerp
1994: Lisbon
1995: Luxembourg
1996: Copenhagen
1997: Thessalonica
1998: Stockholm
1999: Weimar
2000: Avignon, Bergen, Bologna, Brussels, Cracow, Helsinki, Prague, Reykjavik, Santiago de Compostela
2001: Porto and Rotterdam
2002: Bruges (Belgium) and Salamanca (Spain)
2003: Graz (Austria)
2004: Genova (Italy) and Lille (France)
2005: Cork (Ireland)
2006: Patras (Greece)
2007: Luxembourg and Sibiu (Romania)
2008: Liverpool (United Kingdom) and Stavanger (Norway)
2009: Linz (Austria) und Vilnius (Lithuania)
2010: Essen (Germany), Pecs (Hungary) und Istanbul (Turkey)
2011: Turku (Finland) und Tallinn (Estonia)

Future Chronology of Host Countries:

2012: Portugal and Slovenia
2013: France and Slovakia
2014: Sweden and Letvia
2015: Belgium and Czech Republic
2016: Spain and Poland
2017: Danmark and Zyprus
2018: The Netherlands and Malta
2019: Italy

[nach oben]


      European Cultural Month
The label "European (Capital) City of Culture" has established itself and increasing numbers of cities have applied for it. In 1990, the European Union therefore established the European Cultural Month in order to offer a cultural platform to European cities outside the European union. This initiative is aimed primarily at the countries of central and eastern Europe and is of shorter duration than the city of culture. For the next years such an event is not foreseen. The Cultural Month cities so far are:

1992: Cracov
1993: Graz
1994: Budapest
1995: Nicosia
1996: Sankt Petersburg
1997: Ljubljana
1998: Linz und Valetta
1999: Plowdiv
2000: --
2001: Basel and Riga
2002: --
2003: St. Petersburg
2004: --


   The EU and Culture: a historical outline and the legal basis

The fact that the EU should make a contribution to the development of cultural life in the member states was first mentioned in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty. To this end, a new article, concerning culture, was adopted in the treaty. With Article 128 of the Treaty of Amsterdam (later Article 151 of the 1997 Amsterdam Treaty of the Union), the member states recognised culture as a component of the European Union. Until the coming into force of the Maastricht Treaty (1. Nov. 1993), the European Community had no official (i.e. legal) competences for activity in the cultural sphere at all. Nevertheless, since 1997, cultural papers intended to clarify the EEC's approach to cultural goods had been drawn up. AV policy was here an integral component of the cultural policy papers (on the historical development of EEC culture and media policy, cf. our publication:
EG Kulturdokumentation. Information 1. Strukturen, Dokumente, Abstracts, Wien, 1993)

Article 151 - also known as the "culture article" - thus represents the legal basis for the cultural activities of the European Union. It sets out the possibilities and the boundaries of the European Union's cultural policy commitment. Article 151 formulates, among others, three important objectives for the Community's activity in the cultural sphere:

  • Contribution to the flowering of the cultures of the member states while respecting their national and regional diversity and at the same time bringing the common cultural heritage to the fore;
  • Supporting contemporary cultural creation;
  • Supporting cooperation between member states and third countries as well as international organisations.
Article 151 para. 4 further states that the European Union is to take cultural aspects into account in its action in other political areas (= the cultural compliance clause). This means that the EU must also reflect cultural effects in its economic or social decisions. As this is certainly not a legally binding statement, however, it is solely dependent on the political players as to whether this "cultural compliance" is also actually incorporated in EU decisions.

Thus far, all decisions relating to the cultural dimension in the (culture and AV ministerial) Council of the European Union have had to be unanimous. This can be regarded as a major handicap and the question comes up at almost every EU Council Presidency, since the abolition of this rule would mean that decisions could be taken more quickly.
The European Union is obliged to operate its cultural activities and programmes on the subsidiarity principle, i.e. the European Union's actions can only be as a complement to the activities of the member states.

The legal basis for this is again the Article 151, which states that the European Union can only act on the basis of the subsidiarity principle. Subsidiarity means that in areas that "are not exclusively within its competence" (such as for example culture and education) the EU can only take action "only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved by the Community." (Article 3b of the EC Treaty as amended by the Treaty on European Union (Brussels, 1992). This rule is intended to ensure that despite the EU's cultural involvement the national cultural policies should in no way be limited and that it should not come to a situation of competition between the supranational and nation-state levels, but to cooperation in order to achieve a "European added value".

The newly acquired competences as a result of the 1992 culture article (in force since 1 November 1993) have led to the following cultural programmes:

  • Kaleidoskop (1996-1999) for the support of artistic creation and cooperation on artistic and cultural activities with a European dimension
  • Ariane (1997-1999) (1997-1999) for the support of projects in the sphere of books and reading, including translation
  • Raphael (1997-1999) to complement member states' policies on the cultural heritage of European significance
These programmes have meanwhile been replaced by "Culture 2000", which had a budget of Euro 236m between 2000 and 2006.

Since November 2004 Jan Figel has been the Commissioner for Education and Culture. He is responsible for education, training, culture and multilingualism but also for sport, youth and relations with civil society. His predecessor, Viviane Reding, is now Commissioner for the Information Society and Media.
Website of the commissioner:

In November 2004 at the Council Meeting Education, Youth and Culture the Council adopted the Work plan for Culture 2005 - 2006:


    Studies, Reports and Evaluations on behalf of the European Commission

Mid-term Evaluation of the Culture 2000 Programme (PLS Ramboll Management, 2003):

Final Report for the Evaluation of the Line A-3042 (Katerina Kolyva, Rinske van den Berg et Anne Mette Holt, 2003)

Evaluation of the Old Programmes Kaleidoscope, Ariane and Raphael (GMV Conseil, 2003):

Study on Cultural Co-operation in Europe in the Various Cultural and Artistic Fields (EFAH, Interarts, 2003)

A Feasibility Study Concerning the Creation of a European Observatory of Cultural Co-operation (ECOTEC Research, 2003):

Study on the Mobility and Free Movement of People and Products in the Cultural Sector (Universität Paris, 2002):

European's Participation in Cultural Activities (Eurobarometer Survey, 2002):

New Europeans and Culture (Eurobarometer Survey, 2003)

Study on the European Cities and Capitals of Culture and the European Cultural Months (1995-2004):

Study on The Economy of Culture in Europe

Study on Culture and Education

Study on National Systems of Public Guarantees

You will find all these reports on the website of the GD Education and Culture:

    Publications and Studies of the Kulturdokumentation on EU and Cultural Policy


    EU Cultural Policy: selected documents from the EU Commission

An overview of the recommendations and decisions of the Council in the cultural sphere that have been issued since 1977 can be found at the website portal on the law of the European Union:

The question of the effects of EU legislation on arts and culture is an interesting one for the contextual approach. On this, there is the following, still interesting document First Report on the Consideration of Cultural Aspects in European Community Action (document no. COM(96) 160 final).

A printed version of this is held in the Österreichische kulturdokumentation library. This report appeared in 1996 and set new standards with regard to what can or could be understood as "[taking] cultural aspects into account" (culture article 151.4).

The basic document for culture and employment appeared in spring 1998: "Culture, the Cultural Industries and Employment", European Commission departmental working paper 14 May 1998 (collaboration between DG X and DG V):
This departmental working paper of the Commission seeks to make an assessment of the employment potential of the cultural sector for EU Europe. Here, the various census systems of the member states are indeed interesting from a cultural history perspective, on the one hand because they display varying definitions of the cultural sector, on the other because their are unsuited to a European comparison. What is noticeable is the very high employment growth in the media sector in the last ten years. The kulturdokumentation has completed a study on the Exploitation and Development of the Job Potential in the Cultural Sector in the Age of Digitalisation on behalf of the Commission for Education and Culture.

The Culture 2000 programme has been prolonged up to 2006, by Decision No 626/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council:

In March 2004 the Commission adopted a Communication entitled Citizenship in action setting out the guidelines for the future new generation programme intended to replace the current Community programme Culture 2000:

Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 establishing the Culture Programme (2007-2013):


   Information resources

      European Cultural Portal
A European cultural portal was set up by the European Commission early in 2002. The "Europe and Culture" internet portal offers information on the European Union's culture-specific and -relevant fields of activity to those interested and to players in the cultural sphere as well as to local, regional and national institutions:

      Culture@2000 Newsletter the European Commission's monthly newsletter on the Culture 2000 programme:

      Education and Culture at a glance published bi-monthly by the communication unit of the Directorate-General for Education and Culture. It informs about news from the programmes, policy making, publications and events.

      DigiCult Newsletter
The topic of this quarterly newsletter is the digitalisation of cultural content.

      Europe promotes culture
The Internet portal "Europa fördert Kultur" offers an overview of about 90 support opportunities for cultural projects from the programmes of the European Union. (in german only)

      Website of the European Convention

      Portal of the European Union


January - June: Sweden:
July - December: Belgium:

January - June: Spain (Website is no more online)
July - December: Denmark (Website is no more online)

January - June: Greece (Website is no more online)
July - December: Italy (Website is no more online)

January - June: Ireland:
July - December: Netherlands (Website is no more online)

January - June: Luxembourg:
July - December: United Kingdom:

January - June: Austria:
July - December: Finland:

The future presidencies are to be run in groups of three, as foreseen by the new European Constitution, with each group generally containing a large and a small member state and at least one new member state.

January - June 2007: Germany:
July - December 2007: Portugal:
January - June 2008: Slovenia

July - December 2008: France
January - June 2009: Czech Republic
July - December 2009: Sweden

January - June 2010: Spain
July - December 2010: Belgium
January - June 2011: Hungary

July - December 2011: Poland
January - June 2012: Denmark
July - December 2012: Cyprus

January - June 2013: Ireland
July - December 2013: Lithuania
January - June 2014: Greece

July - December 2014: Italy
January - June 2015: Latvia
July - December 2015: Luxembourg

January - June 2016: Netherlands
July - December 2016: Slovakia
January - June 2017: Malta

July - December 2017: Great Britain
January - June 2018: Estonia
July - December 2018: Bulgaria

January - June 2019: Austria
July - December 2019: Romania
January - June 2020: Finland


   Contact Addresses

On the suggestion and with the financial support of the EU Cultural Contact Points to inform cultural players on EU culture supports have been set up in all EU member states in recent years.

Cultural Contact Point Austria
Minoritenplatz 3
A-1014 Wien
Mag. Elisabeth Pacher
Tel.: 01/53 115-7692
Fax: 01/53115-7694

A list of EU Cultural Contact Points can be found at:

Other Contact Addresses:

European Commission
Directorate General Education and Culture
Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 200
B-1049 Bruxelles
Tel.: ++32/(0)2/299 11 11
Fax: ++32/(0)2/299 92 04

Directorate C
(Culture and Communication)
Christine Boon-Falleur (director)
Tel.: ++32/(0)2/27 29/575 96-960 98
C 1/ Kultur
Harald Hartung
Tel.:++32/(0)2/27 29/654 50-843 02

Permanent Representation of Austria to the EU
Mag. Ulrike Wahsner
Avenue de Cortenbergh 30
B-1040 Bruxelles
Tel.: ++32/(0)2/23 45-364
Fax: ++32/(0)2/23 45-364

European Parliament
Committee for Culture, Youth, Education, Media and Sport
Rue Wiertz
B.P. 1047
B-1047 Bruxelles
Tel.: ++32/(0)2/284 21-11
Fax: ++32/(0)2/284 69-74


27.07.2007 |