RECOMMENDATION FOR SECOND READING on the Council common position for adopting a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 1419/1999/EC establishing a Community action for the 'European Capital of Culture' event for the years 2005 to 2019

3.2.2005 - (12029/1/2004 – C6‑0161/2004 – 2003/0274(COD)) - ***II

Committee on Culture and Education
Rapporteur: Christa Prets

Procedure : 2003/0274(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
Texts tabled :
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Texts adopted :


on the Council common position for adopting a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 1419/1999/EC establishing a Community action for the 'European Capital of Culture' event for the years 2005 to 2019

(12029/1/2004 – C6‑0161/2004 – 2003/0274(COD))

(Codecision procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Council common position (12029/1/2004 – C6‑0161/2004),

–   having regard to its position at first reading[1] on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2003)0700)[2],

–   having regard to Article 251(2) of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Rule 67 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on Culture and Education (A6‑0017/2005),

1.  Approves the common position;

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

3.  Instructs its President to sign the act with the President of the Council pursuant to Article 254(1) of the EC Treaty;

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 have it published in the Official Journal of the European Union;

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

  • [1]  Texts Adopted,
  • [2]  Not yet published in OJ.


Draft decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 1419/1999/EC establishing a Community action for the 'European Capital of Culture' event for the years 2005 to 2019


The 'European Capital of Culture' programme was inaugurated in 1985 by Melina Mercouri. then Greek Minister of Culture, in order to forge closer ties between the citizens of Europe.

This programme seeks to highlight the enormous variety of European culture, without overlooking the common European dimension. Experience has shown that the programme has a lasting positive impact on the development of culture and tourism in the cities so designated and also captures the imagination of citizens.


The draft decision amending Decision No 1419/1999/EC - the subject of this recommendation - seeks to complete the provisions governing the sequence of cities so designated and to establish a new system which reflects the present membership of the Union.

The decision needs to be amended following the accession in May 2004 of ten new Member States which have not so far been included in the programme already adopted which covers the period up to 2019.

The existing sequence of Member States entitled to nominate candidate cities as a ‘Cultural Capital of Europe’ remains unchanged. A new system is adopted under which two Member States may jointly nominate their candidate cities, beginning in 2009 with Austria and Lithuania; in this way two cultural capitals can be designated.


At the first reading of the codecision procedure on 22 April 2004 the European Parliament delivered its opinion on the Commission proposal for a decision amending Decision No1419/1999/EC establishing a Community action for the 'European Capital of Culture' event for the years 2005 to 2019, based on Article 151 of the EC Treaty.

The report adopted by the European Parliament (rapporteur: Michel Rocard) contains a total of five amendments. On 21 April 2004 the Committee of the Regions delivered its opinion. On 21 October 2004 the Council adopted a common position in accordance with Article 251(2) of the EC Treaty.


At first reading the European Parliament tabled a total of five amendments.

The Council adopted one European Parliament amendment without change, which was also adopted by the Commission. This was Amendment 1, tabled by the European Parliament and adopted unchanged by the Commission, seeking to ensure availability of adequate and appropriate EU financial resources for the designation of two European cultural capitals.

Amendments 2 to 5 tabled by the European Parliament at first reading calling for a far-reaching reform of the programme were not adopted.

These sought in particular to improve the selection procedure for the designation of candidate cities as European cultural capitals and the provisions governing the tasks and the role of the selection panel. They also sought to create stronger competition between the candidate cities through the nomination, on a regular basis, of at least two candidate cities by each Member State involved and a transparent list of requirements for the cultural capital. It was also proposed that a report should be produced evaluating the results of the previous year’s event, leading, where necessary, to a review of the decision.


Your rapporteur supports the common position. She welcomes in particular the decision to make available adequate and appropriate Community financial resources in order to ensure that the new Member States take part in the programme on terms of equality and to enable the ambitious targets of the programme to be realised.

Your rapporteur also considers that the plans of those cities which have already been nominated in the list of cultural capitals should not be jeopardised. For instance, preparations in Austria and Germany should continue unhindered.

For the above reasons your rapporteur recommends that the Council common position be adopted without amendments.

However, this does not mean that she is thinking of abandoning the urgently needed task of reforming Decision 1419/1999/EC.

Instead, she calls on the Commission to submit a well-considered reform proposal to improve and adjust the existing programme in the first half of 2005.

This proposal should contain the following improvements in particular:

· The tasks of the selection panel should be spelt out and it should be given a greater role in selecting the candidate cities. It is intended to achieve the original objectives of the programme by applying objective selection criteria: this is to be done through the nomination of one or more candidate cities by each Member State involved and thus the introduction of genuine competition. These criteria for the selection of a candidate city as European cultural capital should be made as specific as possible so that the selection can be as fair as possible, in accordance with the objectives of the programme. Where only one candidate city is nominated, the same selection criteria should be applied.

· The selection criteria should be set in such a way as to express European added value, so that the European dimension of the programme acquires greater prominence.

In this connection the rapporteur welcomes the fact that the new EU Commissioner responsible for culture, Jan Figel, confirmed at a meeting of the Committee on Culture and Education on 30 November 2004 that he would submit a new proposal for reform within the next six months establishing new procedures, including strict selection criteria. She also welcomes the fact that the budget for cultural capitals would be increased threefold in future.

The Commission's proposal should also take into account further proposals for reform:

· The accession of further Member States to the European Union and their participation in this programme should be considered in good time, so that the relevant decision does not need to be subsequently corrected.

· In order to ensure adequate financial resources for two European cultural capitals, this aspect should be taken into account in the new cultural programme 2007-2013. In addition, a specific financial framework for the financial endowment of cultural capitals should be submitted in the new programme. The 2007 programme provides in Point 1.3: Special actions (under Strand 1) for funding of 17% of the total budget, without making any precise provisions concerning the financial framework of the cultural capitals.

· An adequate budget should also be requested in the 2007-2013 financial perspective.

Your rapporteur calls for the amended decision to enter into force rapidly in order to facilitate the swift participation of all EU Member States in the European Capital of Culture event. This is also in the interests of European citizens, since it will allow them to enjoy a broad spectrum of cultural achievements as comprehensively as possible.



Council common position for adopting a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 1419/1999/EC establishing a Community action for the 'European Capital of Culture' event for the years 2005 to 2019


12029/1/2004 – C6-0161/2004 – 2003/0274(COD)

Legal basis

Articles 251(2) and 151 EC

Basis in Rules of Procedure

Rule 67

Date of Parliament’s first reading – P5



Commission proposal

COM(2003)0700 – C5-0548/2003

Amended Commission proposal


Date receipt of common position announced in plenary


Committee responsible
  Date announced in plenary


  Date appointed

Christa Prets


Previous rapporteur(s)

Michel Rocard


Discussed in committee






Date adopted


Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

María Badía i Cutchet, Christopher Beazley, Giovanni Berlinguer, Guy Bono, Jolanta Dičkutė, Věra Flasarová, Milan Gaľa, Vasco Graça Moura, Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, Luis Francisco Herrero-Tejedor, Ruth Hieronymi, Manolis Mavrommatis, Doris Pack, Miguel Portas, Christa Prets, Karin Resetarits, Pál Schmitt, Nikolaos Sifunakis, Hannu Takkula, Helga Trüpel, Henri Weber, Thomas Wise, Tomáš Zatloukal

Substitutes present for the final vote

Ivo Belet, Mary Honeyball, Nina Škottová,

Substitutes under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote


Date tabled – A6