Procedure : 2012/0199(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0275/2014

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 16/04/2014 - 7.17

Texts adopted :


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10 April 2014
PE 532.282v02-00 A7-0275/2014

on the Council position at first reading in view of the adoption of a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Union action for the European Capitals of Culture for the years 2020 to 2033 and repealing Decision No 1622/2006/EC

(05793/1/2014 – C7-0132/2014 – 2012/0199(COD))

Committee on Culture and Education

Rapporteur: Marco Scurria



on the Council position at first reading in view of the adoption of a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Union action for the European Capitals of Culture for the years 2020 to 2033 and repealing Decision No 1622/2006/EC

(05793/1/2014 – C7-0132/2014 – 2012/0199(COD))

(Ordinary legislative procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the Council position at first reading (05793/1/2014 – C7-0132/2014),

–       having regard to the opinions of the Committee of the Regions of 15 February 2012(1) and 30 November 2012(2),

–       having regard to its position at first reading(3) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2012)0407),

–       having regard to Article 294(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–       having regard to Rule 72 of its Rules of Procedure,

–       having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on Culture and Education (A7-0275/2014),

1.      Approves the Council position at first reading;

2.      Notes that the act is adopted in accordance with the Council position;

3.      Instructs its President to sign the act with the President of the Council, in accordance with Article 297(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

4.      Instructs its Secretary-General to sign the act, once it has been verified that all the procedures have been duly completed, and, in agreement with the Secretary-General of the Council, to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

5.      Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.


OJ C 113, 18.4.2012, p. 17.


OJ C 17, 19.1.2013, p. 97.


Texts adopted of 12.12.2013, P7_TA(2013)0590.



Since its inception in 1985, the European Capitals of Culture initiative has grown into one of the EU's best-known actions. More than 40 cities have been awarded the title, which serves to highlight the richness of Europe's cultures and to promote greater mutual understanding between European citizens.

Initially, the initiative was a purely intergovernmental action. It became an EU action in 1999 when an act was adopted which set out the order in which Member States were entitled to nominate Capitals, down to 2019. This was modified in 2006, to take account of the 2004 enlargement of the EU: at the same time, the selection criteria for the Capitals were clarified and the selection mechanism refined. Each Capital received a Melina Mercouri prize (named after the Greek minister of culture who had proposed the initiative): while the pecuniary prize awarded by the EU was small (of the order of EUR 1,5 million), its award and the nomination of a city as a Capital of Culture proved to have a big leverage effect, mobilising much greater public and private investment.

The 2006 rules for selecting European Capitals of Culture will expire in 2019. Since the present selection procedure entails a long lead-in time, it was necessary to try to have new rules for the period after 2020 in place by the end of 2013.

The Commission proposal

In July 2012, the Commission submitted a proposal to continue the initiative beyond 2020.

This retained the structure and content of the current initiative, including a chronological table setting out the order of the Member States entitled to host a Capital, selection based on presentation by the competing cities of year-long cultural programmes devised specifically for the event, and the possibility for candidate cities to include a surrounding region.

The main changes proposed by the Commission concerned (i) designation of the cities (designation by the Commission rather than the Council was proposed); (ii) membership of the selection and monitoring panel (a smaller membership of European appointees, with no national representatives from the country due to host the Capital) and (iii) opening-up the initiative to candidate and potential candidate countries (hitherto, there had only been two Capitals outside the EU - Stavanger in 2008 and Istanbul in 2010).

Committee stage and Parliament’s first reading

The CULT committee adopted its report on this proposal on 28 May 2013. The Council had already reached its ‘partial general approach’ in November 2012.

There was a substantial degree of convergence between the approaches of the two institutions, for example over the need to strengthen national representation on the selection and monitoring panel: in addition to the members appointed by Parliament (3), Council (3), Commission (3) and Committee of the Regions (1), both legislators agreed that the Member State hosting the Capital should be able to appoint two representatives.

Two trilogues were held during the Lithuanian presidency of the Council. These made good progress on a wide range of issues, such as:

-               strengthening the European dimension of the would-be Capitals’ year-long programmes;

-               the long-term sustainability of infrastructural investments;

-               facilitating access to other EU sources of funding (especially the Structural Funds).

But there remained one issue on which agreement was not possible - formal designation of the Capitals (Article 11):

-               The EP supported the Commission proposal that, having due regard to the recommendations of the panel of experts, the Commission should officially designate the Capitals, through an implementing act (Article 290 of the Treaty).

-               The Council insisted that it continue to designate the Capitals (as under the current action), arguing that Council designation was possible under Article 290, reflected the inter-governmental origins of the action and responsibility for funding the Capitals, and was necessary to ensure the commitment of the Member States to the process.

The Committee decided to seek the support of the full Parliament before continuing negotiations on this difficult issue.

On 12 December 2013, plenary voted by a very large majority (577 in favour; 26 against; 25 abstentions) to adopt as its first reading position the CULT report as amended to incorporate all the points on which agreement had been reached in the first two trilogues, retaining the Commission’s proposal for Article 11.

Early-second reading agreement

After Parliament’s first-reading vote, a third trilogue with the Greek presidency in January 2014 reached an agreement on Article 11 under which:

-               The Member State which acts as host to the Capital (not the Council) will designate a city, based on the recommendations of the panel of experts.

-               The Commission will provide the European institutional element in the designation process by publishing the name of the city in the Official Journal.

-               In the case of Ireland and Croatia, which will host the Capitals in 2020, the deadlines in the selection process have been extended.

The overall agreement was confirmed by COREPER I on 29 January 2014 and approved unanimously by an absolute majority of Members of the CULT committee in an extraordinary meeting on 6 February 2014. The Committee’s support for the agreement was then communicated to the Greek presidency of the Council on 12 February by means of a standard “early second reading” agreement letter. The Council adopted its first-reading position on 24 March 2014.

Assessment and recommendation

The agreement reached amounts to a realistic and balanced compromise. It provides for a stream-lining of the selection procedure, sustainability of infrastructural investments, access to additional sources of EU funding, and the possibility for a city to lead a regional bid. It also recognises the important role of the Member State hosting the Capital, while safeguarding the European character of the initiative.

The Committee recommends that the plenary approve the outcome of the negotiations to date and endorse the Council’s first-reading position, which perfectly incorporates the text agreed, without amendment.

* * *



Union action for the ‘European Capitals of Culture’ for the years 2020 to 2033


05793/1/2014 – C7-0132/2014 – 2012/0199(COD)

Date of Parliament’s first reading – P number

12.12.2013                     T7-0590/2013

Commission proposal

COM(2012)0407 - C7-0198/2012

Receipt of Council position at first reading announced in plenary


Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary







       Date appointed

Marco Scurria





Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Malika Benarab-Attou, Piotr Borys, Santiago Fisas Ayxela, Petra Kammerevert, Emilio Menéndez del Valle, Martina Michels, Doris Pack, Chrysoula Paliadeli, Hannu Takkula, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Milan Zver

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Marino Baldini, Birgit Collin-Langen, Malcolm Harbour, Vittorio Prodi

Date tabled


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