Proposals for the European Capital of Culture title are assessed against criteria laid down in the Decision on the European Capital of Culture 2007-19 – 1622/2006/EC. In practice, some other factors are also taken into consideration. These are listed below.
Article 4 of Decision 1622/2006/EC specifies that the programme must:
- foster cooperation between cultural operators, artists and cities from host country and other EU countries in any cultural sector;
- highlight the richness of cultural diversity in Europe;
- bring the common aspects of European cultures to the fore.
In other words, candidate cities must present the role they have played in European culture, their links with Europe, their European identity. They must also demonstrate current involvement in European artistic and cultural life, alongside their own specific features.
Concretely, the selection panel will look at:
- the themes presented in programme
- the way in which the events in the programme are organised (cooperation between cultural operators in different EU countries is encouraged).
City and citizens
Article 4 of Decision 1622/2006/EC also specifies that the programme must:
- foster the participation of citizens living in the city and its surroundings and raise their interest as well as the interest of citizens from abroad;
- be sustainable and be an integral part of the long-term cultural and social development of the city.
In other words, candidate cities must present a programme that anticipates large-scale public involvement at both local and European levels. How can the city attract not only the local and national population, but also tourists from other countries?
This criterion is also intended to encourage cities to devise a programme with lasting effects; a programme which impacts on the long-term development of the city.
While the panel focuses on the two key areas mentioned above when considering its selection, it also takes account of other factors including:
- governance – a solid structure, managed by competent people who have some degree of independence from the political authorities, while at the same time enjoying their support
- finances – the application should have a reliable budget, with strong commitment from the different local, national and private sources
- programme – in the initial application, the programme should give a good indication of what to expect from an entire year of cultural projects, but should allow scope for further development, and changes if necessary
- communication strategy – big cities are probably aiming at being in the headlines of the international news often; smaller cities tend to target communication differently, seeking to make the most of the network of partner cities and regions.