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Attività e Programmi Internazionali

The European Union Culture Programme (Ann Branch)

Ann Branch: Capo Unità DG Culture – Commissione Europea- Bruxelles

The cultural and creative industries are a powerful motor for jobs, growth, cultural diversity and social inclusion, contributing some 2.6% to the European Union's gross domestic product and accounting for some 6 million jobs. They therefore have a vital contribution to make to sustainable and inclusive growth and to a creative Europe.
European Union support for culture is therefore important. The Culture Programme is part of the Union's efforts to safeguard and promote Europe's cultural diversity, and is a unique tool for fostering international cultural exchanges and supporting artistic and literary creation.
The essence of the Programme is to facilitate sustained and high-quality cultural cooperation between cultural organisations and people from different geographical origins and diverse backgrounds.

Goals of the Programme

The Programme has three specific objectives: to promote cross-border mobility of those working in the cultural sector; to encourage the transnational circulation of cultural and artistic output; and to foster intercultural dialogue.
Since the Maastricht Treaty entered into force in 1993 the European Union seeks to contribute to the flowering of European cultures, to encourage cultural cooperation between Member States and to promote cultural and linguistic diversity. To this end the Commission piloted a number of cultural programmes which were integrated into the Culture 2000 programme and ultimately led to the current Programme which will run until 2013.
The Programme is complementary to the European Agenda for Culture, the Union's first real policy strategy for culture agreed in 2007. This strategy pursues three main objectives: promoting cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue; promoting culture as a catalyst for creativity; and fostering culture as a key component in international relations. Many of the projects supported by the Programme contribute to these aims.

Results and success of the Programme

The Programme operates over a seven year period (2007-2013) with an overall budget of 400 million EUR currently covering 35 European countries. Its scope is extremely broad supporting cooperation projects, organisations, promotional activities and analysis in all cultural sectors, except the audiovisual industry, for which there is a separate Union programme, MEDIA. Each year the Programme awards grants to some 250 different projects and cultural activities, reaching in excess of 1,100 cultural organisations. Millions of people are reached through these projects.
The implementation of the Programme is assisted by a network of Cultural Contact Points. They have been established in all countries participating in the Programme in order to provide information on the programme and to assist applicants. As the Programme is managed centrally in Brussels, the Contact Points play an important role as local information relays and very often they are the first port of call for many project promoters.
An information day conference takes place in Brussels every year in order to provide information on the funding opportunities in the Programme. Most Cultural Contact Points also organise national information days in their own countries, and these events offer a good opportunity for cultural operators to meet and network with other organisations in the sector.
The European Commission publicises and promotes the results of the Programme through regular conferences ("Culture in Motion"), in addition to various publications and promotional materials, available on our website.

Specific Programme actions

Cooperation Projects
Since 2007 the Programme has supported over 450 cultural cooperation projects in fields such as dance, music, theatre, visual arts and cultural heritage among many others. Cooperation projects account for the bulk of the Programme budget and each project involves at least three cultural operators from three different participating countries. Many of these projects are interdisciplinary and involve operators with different cultural skills and knowledge.
Literary translation
The Programme also supports translations of works of fiction from one European language into another. Since 2007 more than 1,500 books have been translated thanks to this funding. The purpose of this support is to enable the widest possible dissemination of high quality European literature.
European Capitals of Culture
The European Capitals of Culture were first launched in 1985 and since then more than 40 European cities have hosted the title. The event is a European Union title and the Culture Programme provides some financial support to. Over the years the Capitals have proved to be a valuable opportunity for cities to improve their cultural vibrancy, as well as to foster their social and economic development. They have become one of the most appreciated European cultural events.
European prizes in the field of culture
The Programme supports four European Union prizes which showcase Europe's rich cultural diversity and highlight outstanding cultural achievements across the continent in the fields of contemporary architecture, cultural heritage, literature and pop music.
The Prize for Contemporary Architecture and the Special Mention for an Emerging Architect are awarded to highlight recent, excellent examples of architectural creativity of works which are less than two years old and to underline that modern architecture is socially and culturally rooted in European cities and is important in people's everyday lives.
The European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage rewards exemplary achievements in the following four categories:
  • conservation,
  • research,
  • dedicated service to heritage conservation by individuals and/or groups, and education, training and awareness raising within Europe's cultural heritage sector.
The European Union Prize for Literature celebrates 11 or 12 emerging authors from different European countries each year, seeking to highlight the full richness of Europe's literary diversity and to promote greater circulation and readership of foreign literary works.
The aim of the European Borders Breakers Awards is to reward emerging pop, rock and dance musicians for success with their first internationally released album. It also seeks to stimulate greater circulation of European music across borders.

For further information please visit the DG EAC Culture homepage at:

For detailed information on the Culture Programme please consult the Programme Guide which is accessible at:

Information on previously supported projects financed by the Culture Programme and other funding programmes managed by DG for Education and Culture can be found on the "EVE" electronic platform. The platform is fully searchable and is available at:

The Culture in Motion brochure and other publications regarding the Programme can be downloaded from:

2010 Culture Programme information day in Brussels:

More information on the European Prizes in the field of culture is available at:

For more detailed information regarding the European Capitals of Culture please consult: