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Commission recruiting Experts for the European Capital of Culture

07 July 2014


The Decision 445/2014/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (hereafter "the Decision") establishes a Union action for the European Capitals of Culture for the years 2020 to 20331.

The general objectives of this initiative are to safeguard and promote the diversity of cultures in Europe, to highlight the common features they share as well as to increase citizens' sense of belonging to a common cultural area, and to foster the contribution of culture to the long-term development of cities in accordance with their respective strategies and priorities.

More specifically, the European Capitals of Culture (hereafter "the ECoC") are also aiming at enhancing the range, diversity and European dimension of the cultural offering in cities, including through transnational co-operation; widening access to and participation in culture; strengthening the capacity of the cultural sector and its links with other sectors and raising the international profile of cities through culture. 

The selection procedure for the European Capitals of Culture title

Each year, two Member States of the European Union are entitled to host the ECoC action in accordance with the chronological order annexed to the Decision. Furthermore, every third year starting from 2021, cities in candidate countries or potential candidates for European Union membership2 will also have the possibility to hold the title.

While each Member State manages its own selection competition for the ECoC title at national level in accordance with the procedure and criteria laid down in the Decision and with the assistance of the European Commission, the Commission is responsible for the organisation of the open competition for cities in candidate countries or potential candidates.

In practical terms, this means that, every year, parallel competitions will run at national level in two Member States, and that, every third year, a third competition – open only to cities in candidate countries and potential candidates – will also take place.

The competition for the title is launched at least six years in advance – with the publication of a call for submission of applications – in order to give the cities sufficient time for their preparation before the beginning of the title-year. The competition is organised in two rounds – preselection and selection – each including the organisation of a meeting. The aim of these meetings is for the Panel (see section I.4 below) to assess the cities having submitted an application against the objectives and criteria laid down in the Decision and to announce the names of the cities recommended for pre-selection / the ECoC title.

The cities are then officially designated as European Capitals of Culture by the Member State concerned (for the competitions in Member States) and by the Commission (for competitions between cities in candidate countries or potential candidates). The designation formally marks the end of the selection procedure.

The monitoring procedure of the cities designated as European Capitals of Culture

Once cities are designated "European Capitals of Culture", they are submitted to a monitoring procedure during the preparatory period running from their designation up to the title-year.

The monitoring procedure aims to provide the cities with support and guidance. It is the opportunity to take stock of the preparations and give advice with a view to helping designated cities to develop a high-quality cultural programme and an effective strategy for the title-year.

The monitoring consists of three formal meetings between the Panel and each city. These meetings are convened by the Commission. The first monitoring meeting takes place three years before the title-year, the second 18 months before the title-year and the third just two months before the title-year.

In addition to these meetings, the Commission may organise monitoring visits to the designated cities whenever necessary.

The Panel of independent experts

In accordance with Article 6 of the Decision, a Panel composed of independent experts is established to take part in the abovementioned selection and monitoring procedures. Panel experts shall work independently, in a personal capacity and not on behalf of any organisation. The Panel consists of ten experts appointed by Union institutions and bodies (the European Parliament, the Council, the Commission and the Committee of the Regions) (the "European experts") plus up to two experts appointed by the Member State for its own competition in accordance with its own procedures and in consultation with the Commission (the "national experts").

The role of the Panel is to assess the applications received from cities bidding for the ECoC title, to agree on a shortlist of cities for pre-selection, to recommend one city for the title in the context of each competition and to monitor the preparation of the designated cities until the title-year.

Purpose of the call

This open call for expressions of interest is managed by the European Commission, Directorate-General Education and Culture, Directorate Culture and Creativity. The European Commission issues this call with the aim of establishing a pool of potential "European experts" for the Panel.

The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission shall subsequently select three experts each from this pool – and the Committee of the Regions one expert from this pool – and appoint them as members of the Panel in accordance with their respective procedures. When selecting experts, each of these Union institutions and bodies shall seek to ensure a complementarity of the competences, a balanced geographical distribution and a gender balance in the overall composition of the Panel.

The "European experts" shall be appointed for a period of three years. However, as regards the first establishment of the Panel (indicatively planned for the end of 2014), the European Parliament shall appoint its experts for three years, the Council for one year, the Commission for two years and the Committee of the Regions for one year. These arrangements are stipulated in the Decision. They aim to stagger the replacement of members in order to prevent any loss of know-how and memory, which would occur if the members were all replaced simultaneously.

During their years in office, the members of the Panel will be requested to carry out the following duties:

  • Pre-selection phase

  • Preparatory work

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