The Culture 2007 programme was adopted in its entirety. Regarding the only question that remained to be solved - the submission of the projects selection to the comitology procedure - it was decided to submit projects with a total EU contribution of more than euro 200,000 to management committee procedure.

In light of the 'partial' nature of the agreement, pending approval of the EU financial framework for 2007-2013, this item will again be on the Education/Youth/Culture Council's agenda in order to finalise the budget and its breakdown aspects. The budget proposed by the Commission is euro 408 million.

The draft programme, which will replace the Culture 2000 programme, will give priority support to three objectives: promoting transnational mobility for those working in the cultural sector in the EU, encouraging transnational circulation of works of art and cultural products and encouraging intercultural dialogue. It provides, moreover, for three strands of intervention: direct financial support for cultural actions, support for bodies active at European level in the field of culture and support for analyses, for the collection and dissemination of information and for other activities improving the impact of projects in the field of European cultural cooperation. The European Parliament delivered its first-reading opinion on October 25, and a majority of its amendments have been incorporated in the text.

Culture Capitals.

Ministers also agreed that there is room for improvement to the Capital of Culture event for 2007-2019, with a view to raising its overall visibility and impact on citizens. Some of the areas to be altered include: competition between cities (member states should organise competition at national level between interested cities); the composition of the selection panel (six experts will be designated by the member state concerned and the seven members nominated by the European institutions will be appointed for three years); guidance and monitoring, to be carried out by an advisory panel; extension of the time allowed for planning; and the award of a monetary prize for quality of the project.

The Council also appointed Claude Frissoni (Luxembourg) and Sir Jeremy Isaacs (UK) as Council representatives for the European Capital of Culture 2010 selection panel. The two candidates were proposed by the Luxembourg and UK delegations at the last meeting of the Council on May 23. Under Decision 1419/1999/EC, the Commission each year...

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