Ministers’ Deputies

CM Documents

CM(2013)148 addfinal 20 December 2013

Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (EPA)

Resolution CM/Res(2013)67 revising the rules for the award of the “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certification – Explanatory Memorandum

I. Introduction and background

A. Introduction

1. The confirmation of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (EPA) by the Committee of Ministers on 18 December 2013 was the opportunity to review the statutory texts governing the cultural routes programme and to make any appropriate amendments.

2. During the pilot phase of the EPA, the Governing Board decided that it would be useful to prepare an explanatory memorandum to the resolution on the rules for the award of certification, especially as this text is destined for a broad range of different users, from government experts to routes managers and students, and should be clear and easily understood by all. Therefore the secretariat was asked to prepare a draft explanatory memorandum for adoption and transmission to the Committee of Ministers with the proposal to confirm the EPA and the new draft statutory texts.

B. Origins of the cultural routes programme

3. The Council of Europe’s cultural routes programme began in 1987, but the value of cultural tourism as a means of illustrating the unity and diversity of Europe had been discussed for many years already, in particular in the framework of a working group of the Council of Europe’s Council for Cultural Co-operation.

4. On the basis of the findings of the working group, on 28 June 1984, the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly adopted Recommendation 987 (1984) on European pilgrim routes, which laid the foundations for the cultural routes programme by recommending that the Committee of Ministers, taking the Pilgrims' Way to Santiago as a starting-point and example:

“6.1. encourage co-operation between member States in the joint preservation of international pilgrim routes- such as concerted action to ensure that the most significant routes (and the monuments on them) are inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage List ;

6.2. ask the governments of member States to encourage those towns that may be situated on individual pilgrim routes to co-operate in joint activities related to the conservation of buildings on the routes and to making them better known, and associate the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe with such an initiative;

6.3. promote, in collaboration with European tourist organisations, cultural tourism along these routes;

6.4. grant the use of a special Council of Europe emblem to towns and other institutions associated with the conservation and promotion of pilgrim routes.”1

5. After consultation of the Steering Committee for Urban Policies and the Architectural Heritage (CDUP), the Council for Cultural Co-operation (CDCC) and the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE), the Committee of Ministers replied to the Parliamentary Assembly positively, decided to support the initiative, which resulted in the launching of the programme on 23 October 1987 with the Declaration of Santiago de Compostela.

6. The Declaration set out the action required to revive the pilgrimage ways of Saint James of Compostela as a route “highly symbolic in the process of European unification,” which would “serve as a reference and example for future projects.” The required action for this revival laid the foundations of the future rules for the award of the title of “Council of Europe Cultural Route”, and indeed other cultural routes joined the new programme in the following years.

7. Despite the influence of the Saint James pilgrimage as the first “model” Council of Europe Cultural Route, the principle that a “cultural route” is not necessarily linear, but may be a network of locations linked by a common theme was established at the very beginning of the programme. The shared themes and the transnational exchanges stimulated by the creation of route networks were seen as the essential defining elements. A practical guide to the cultural routes published by the Council of Europe in 1993 confirmed that the term “cultural route” did not only designate tangible paths but was used to express a process of cultural co-operation between researchers and a means of bringing together local and regional authorities and civil society.

8. The cultural routes programme now counts 26 certified routes, linking 50 countries and hundreds of active partners across Europe.

II. Framework for the implementation of the certification programme

A. The European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR), Luxembourg

9. In November 1996 the Council of Europe’s Culture Committee decided to transfer the implementation of the cultural routes programme to an external body which would function as a technical agency. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg offered to host the European Institute of Cultural Routes and to establish a non-profit association to manage the activity.

10. Since 1997, supported politically and financially by the Luxembourg Ministry for Culture, the Institute has carried out the tasks assigned to it by the Council of Europe, assistance to routes and new projects, training, information and awareness-raising, research on cultural heritage and sustainable tourism and the evaluation of projects and certified routes.

11. After the adoption of Resolution CM/Res(2010)53, the seat of the new enlarged partial agreement was established in Luxembourg under an agreement signed by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn on 27 November 2011.

12. The EICR is responsible for supervising and coordinating the evaluation of cultural routes projects and certified routes according to the Resolution on the rules for certification and is responsible for establishing the calendar for procedures to be executed within appropriate deadlines. The statutory bodies depend on its expert recommendations for making their decisions at the end of the evaluation/certification procedure.

B. The Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes

13. A proposal to conduct the cultural routes programme in the framework of a partial agreement was made as early as 2001. It advocated a new type of partial agreement, open to countries having signed the European Cultural Convention, the European Union and regions with political bodies, with the aim of developing the cross-cutting approach of the programme to be enhanced, broadening accession and creating higher financial potential.

14. However, the idea was abandoned for a period during which the financial contribution of the Council of Europe to the cultural routes programme was restricted to a small appropriation from the General Budget, which the Committee of Ministers finally came to consider as insufficient to ensure added value of the Organisations input in this area.

15. In June 2010, the Committee of Ministers examined a new recommendation for the establishment of an enlarged partial agreement, as outlined in document GR-C(2010)8, based on the following reasoning:

“Today, the Cultural Routes have become victims of their success as there is an ever increasing number of initiatives applying for the unique and prestigious Council of Europe label, which requires assistance and support. At the same time, the Cultural Routes programme has revealed the enormous potential of these grassroots initiatives for the development of cultural tourism – tourism which is sustainable, ethical and social, because it builds on local knowledge, skills and heritage assets, and which often promotes lesser known European destinations and Europe itself as a destination for a quality cultural experience.

In order to increase the capacity and impact of the programme, it has been proposed to create an Enlarged Partial Agreement (hereafter EPA).

In the context of the Partial Agreement, a cultural route would be an itinerary or a series of itineraries, based on a cultural concept or phenomenon of transnational importance and significance for common European values. Resolution CM/Res(2007)12 would continue to govern the criteria for the award of the label “Council of Europe Cultural Route”.

The EPA could be created according to the parameters outlined briefly below, being understood that the Statute of the Agreement will develop them further.”2

16. Following the circulation of a questionnaire to delegations on their country’s intention to join the proposed EPA, the Committee of Ministers decided that support was sufficient to introduce the new framework and as a consequence, on 8 December 2010 at their 1101st meeting, the Ministers Deputies adopted Resolution CM/Res(2010)53 establishing the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes for a pilot phase of three years.

17. In addition to the impetus given by the first group of signatory States and the pledge of continued support from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the European Union’s parallel action was a decisive factor in the decision to continue with the cultural routes activity. The European Parliament adopted a decision to launch preparatory action on cultural tourism and cultural routes, and at the same time the Council of Europe secretariat entered discussions with the European Commission on a possible joint programme on cultural routes.

18. Together with Resolution CM/Res(2010)53, the Committee of Ministers adopted Resolution CM/Res(2010)52 on the rules for the award of the “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certification, which replaced CM/Res(2007)12 of the same name.

19. At the end of the pilot phase of the EPA at its 1187bis meeting on 18 December 2013, the Committee of Ministers adopted Resolution CM/Res(2013)66 confirming the establishment of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes and Resolution CM/Res(2013)67 revising the rules for the award of the “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certification, at the same time taking note of the present Explanatory Memorandum. The new texts add a definition of the role of the EPA Statutory Committee and clarifications regarding observer status with the partial agreement in accordance with Statutory Resolution (93)28 on partial and enlarged agreements. Some member States also requested that a sub-paragraph relating to indicators of the impact of routes be added to the text on rules for certification, and that routes demonstrate clearly in their evaluation reports how their action relates to the priority fields of action in Part II (cf. paragraph 71 below).

III. Resolution CM/Res(2013)67 revising the rules for the award of the “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certification

A. Aims and structure of Resolution CM/Res(2013)67

20. The aim of the resolution is threefold:

    - to state clearly the aims of the cultural routes programme for member and potential member States and for cultural route managers (Preamble);

    - to set out comprehensive lists of criteria for the certification of new cultural routes projects, including with regard to their thematic content, their required fields of action and network structures (Appendix Parts I, II and III);

    - to explain the procedures involved in the certification and three-year evaluation of Council of Europe cultural routes (Appendix Part IV).

21. The present rules for the award of the “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” constitute the fourth version of the statutory text governing cultural routes certification since the adoption of Resolution Res(98)4 on the cultural routes of the Council of Europe of 17 March 1998. Previous versions of the rules for certification were contained in Resolutions CM/Res(2007)12 and CM/Res(2010)52.

22. The present text does not amend substantially the text of the previous resolution which it replaces, as the procedure has now proved its relevance and operational viability over several years. Changes were made either in order to clarify some provisions subject to frequent misunderstanding or questioning by routes operators, or to update the text to reflect changes in the Council of Europe’s working structures.

23. The text of the Resolution itself is short in comparison to the Appendix which contains the substantive rules for the award of certification. The Resolution consists essentially of a preamble recalling the aims of the programme and the justification for the establishment of a regulatory framework for evaluating the eligibility of cultural routes for Council of Europe certification.

B. Content of the resolution

a. The Preamble

24. The Preamble is an essential part of the Resolution as it explains the relationship between the aims and values upheld by the Council of Europe through its action in the area of cultural co-operation, thereby establishing a strong link between the cultural routes programme and the broader context of the Organisation’s work.

25. Both the preamble to Resolution CM/Res(2013)66 confirming the establishment of the EPA and that of CM/Res(2013)67 underline the importance of cultural routes for promoting and preserving the European identity in its unity and its diversity. The routes are proposed as channels for intercultural dialogue and as an accessible means of gaining a better understanding of the history of Europe, based on cross-border exchanges of people, ideas and cultures. The role of cultural routes as a model for grass-roots cultural
co-operation and as a potential tool for the resolution of tensions and potential conflict is also highlighted, as well as their educational value for learning about identity and citizenship through the shared experience of culture.

26. The Preamble also recalls that cultural routes are a combination of physical, intangible and natural heritage (see also “priority field of action 2 – Enhancement of memory, history and European heritage”), and that the co-operation envisaged takes many different forms.

      “Aware that such routes lend themselves to long-term European co-operation programmes in the fields of research, heritage enhancement, culture and the arts, cultural and educational youth exchanges, cultural tourism in Europe and sustainable cultural development;”

27. The preambles to both resolutions also draw attention to the practical aspects of the implementation of the cultural routes programme and the effective fulfillment of its objectives:

      “Considering that in order to provide an intellectual and technical support to this co-operation, which requires considerable human and financial resources, a formal operational framework should be established enabling the reaffirmation of fundamental values, the qualitative and quantitative assessment of implementation, training of actors and a coherent communication;“

This paragraph refers very clearly to the role of the European Institute of Cultural Routes as the technical agency of the Council of Europe for the programme’s implementation. Its tasks are therefore to convey and “reaffirm” the fundamental values which underpin the cultural routes programme, to ensure the evaluation of the routes networks, training for those involved and the communication of information on policies and activities.

b. The Appendix to Resolution CM/Res(2013)67 revising the rules for the award of the “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certification

28. The Appendix is a catalogue of clear, easily understandable rules of eligibility of the cultural routes for the award and retention of the Council of Europe certification. The text is the sole reference for the precise definition of the qualifying criteria for Council of Europe cultural routes, their thematic content, the action required to fulfill the objectives and the values which underpin these objectives, as well as setting out the operational framework within which routes should function.

29. The Appendix to Resolution CM/Res(2013)67 is divided into four parts, the first relating to the six basic criteria for certification, the second outlining the means which should be implemented to fulfill these requirements and the third the structures which should be put in place to enable routes to be managed sustainably and democratically. The fourth outlines the formal procedure leading to the decision to certify or to confirm certification as a Council of Europe cultural route.

30. The rules apply in an identical manner to new route projects and to certified routes, as the latter are examined for conformity with the Appendix to the Resolution every three years. The introductory paragraph states clearly that certification can only be awarded to projects which correspond fully to the operational chapters:

      “The certification “Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe” may be granted to projects which deal with a theme that complies with the eligibility criteria in part I below, involve priority actions as indicated in part II and are presented by a single network meeting the criteria in part III.”

31. Generally speaking, in relation to Resolutions Res(98)4 and CM/Res(2007)12, more emphasis has been put since Resolution CM/Res(2010)52 on the requirement to develop cultural routes’ strategies and policies for tourism, as a means of enabling access of all visitors from Europe and beyond to the cultural heritage (cf. references in the Preamble and eligibility criteria 5 and 6).

C. Criteria for certification (Part I)

32. The first part of the Appendix lists the criteria which need to be fulfilled in order for a project to be eligible for certification.

a. List of eligibility criteria for themes

33. “1. The theme must be representative of European values and common to at least three countries of Europe”

This two-facetted criterion is perhaps the most differentiating characteristic of cultural routes certified by the Council of Europe. The European values referred to are those upheld by the Council of Europe throughout its history and those referred to in the Preamble: respect for human rights and democracy, the value of culture and cultural heritage, culture as an enabling factor and access to culture as a fundamental human right.

34. The requirement that routes involve at least three countries provides an assurance that the theme is common to several European nationalities and that the network aims to develop the cross-border
co-operation which is one of the main aims of the cultural routes programme.

35. The withdrawal of the certification of seven routes in 2012 was largely the consequence of non-conformity with this particular criterion, as many routes began with the intention of developing their outreach to partners in other regions but never succeeded in doing so and remained national or regional. This was sometimes due to the restrictive scope of the theme, as was the case for the Route of Don Quixote, for instance (the intention was to explore the theme of literary landscapes).

36. The realisation that even well-designed projects do not always become sustainable networks prompted changes in the rules with the adoption of Resolution CM/Res(2007)12. Previously, certification was a two-stage procedure, where a researched theme could be approved as a “Council of Europe Cultural Route”, followed by a separate and subsequent evaluation of the network actually carrying out the co-operation. Currently, all the requirements for a cultural route and its management are examined in the same cycle, and the Governing Board requests concrete evidence of joint activities organised by the members of the route before giving its approval.

37. “2. The theme must be researched and developed by groups of multidisciplinary experts from different regions of Europe so as to ensure that the activities and projects which illustrate it are based on consensus”

This criterion aims to ensure that:

- routes projects are based on research and expertise;

- their themes are not the sole remit of one particular group and are not subject to restrictive or nationalistic interpretations;

- that the research is not limited to academic studies but includes other dimensions.

38. This requirement has taken on additional significance in the context of the digital society with its deluge of accessible information and the need to ensure that the “stories” told by the routes are based on reliable, researched sources. The Council of Europe cultural routes must be exemplary in their rendition of the themes they are presenting and communicating, in a world of constant bombardment.

39. Among problems encountered with this provision, the following were identified as recurrent:

- a few routes, which are not based on research and have not emerged through it, do not have the well-developed, well-organised corpus of research others possess by the very nature of their theme;

- some difficulty was identified in understanding that research is not necessarily academic – this is why the criteria for the scientific committees of routes is required to be “multi-disciplinary”;

- in order to “tell stories” about the route which will interest all types of public, the research around the theme needs to be solidly constructed, then interpreted;

- some more “classic” themes have already given rise to extensive research, upon which some operaotrs tend to rely on rather than generating on-going debate and research through their networks.

40. “3. The theme must be illustrative of European memory, history and heritage and contribute to an interpretation of the diversity of present-day Europe;”

The Preamble already states the programme’s aim to promote the better understanding of Europe’s history and shared heritage in its unity and diversity. Each theme should correspond to this requirement by providing an area of co-operation broad enough to be representative of European history and civilisation. The idea that history has significance and value for living in the modern world is underlined here.

41. As a general rule, candidates for certification do not experience difficulties in complying with this requirement. On one hand, projects which are submitted to the EICR are usually those which are centred on themes with a clear historical significance. On the other the Council of Europe’s rather inclusive definition of heritage encompasses popular cultures, landscapes, intangible and tangible heritage and more allows for a great variety of themes to be accepted.

42. The fact that many routes involve actual physical activity of some form of travel also ensures a personal and contemporary approach to the theme – walking along a historic hiking and/or pilgrimage route is an encouragement to place oneself in a type of spatial continuity with the historical period concerned, to imagine what the route represented during that time.

43. “4. The theme must lend itself to cultural and educational exchanges for young people and hence be in line with the Council of Europe's ideas and concerns in these fields; “

The cultural routes as participative, locally-based cultural and touristic projects are an ideal tool for sharing the experience of culture at any age, at any level of society and in any geographical location. The Council of Europe’s “ideas and concerns” are to teach future generations about the meaning of democratic citizenship, the importance of history for contemporary life and the value of intercultural dialogue.

44. Recent workshops (cultural routes summer seminar 2012) showed that there are many ways in which the routes fulfill this criterion and that all of them work with both universities and schools to organise educational activities. Some of these are more academic and formal, while many routes organise more informal activities such as sports and outdoor visits, targeting different age-groups.

45. Certain routes have also developed innovative tools such as online games and activity books, and many organise exhibitions and educational guided tours of these.

46. This requirement is perhaps one of the most creatively fulfilled by certified routes, as very few routes have difficulties in developing these activities. Partnerships with European associations are also a good source of resources for the organisation of these activities.

47. “5. The theme must permit the development of initiatives and exemplary and innovative projects in the field of cultural tourism and sustainable cultural development;

      6. The theme must lend itself to the development of tourist products in partnership with tourist agencies and operators aimed at different publics, including school groups.”

These two criteria may be considered together, as they relate to the development of sustainable tourism around the routes.

48. Since the beginning, the cultural routes programme has been seen as a means of improving the quality of leisure activities for Europeans. The development of sustainable cultural tourism is therefore an integral part of the complex cultural route project, an enabling factor for improving the lifestyles and bringing meaning and value to time spent away from work or formal study obligations.

49. This field of action describes the approach which should underpin the development of tourism around the cultural routes. Tourism is seen not solely as a source of revenue for operators and routes, but as an effective means of attaining the objectives of the programme, which are to show-case diverse European identities and cultures, to raise public awareness of the cultural objectives of the projects and of the need to preserve cultural heritage through sustainable territorial policies, to promote intercultural dialogue and co-operation between Europe’s regions and with other continents, and finally to encourage public-private partnerships.

50. Tourism enables the practical implementation of the objective of providing access to culture and cultural heritage for all.

51. These provisions also point to the need for routes to be firmly established in their regions and to ensure sustainability of their projects. Each cultural route can provide stimulus for local economies, and cultural route projects must make a priority of development plans for the territories involved, based on local, regional, national and European identities, in order to ensure the sustainable cultural and economic development of the territories.

52. The European Commission, in Communication (2010) 352 to the European Parliament, the Council, the European economic and social committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled “Europe, the world's No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe”, underlines the benefits of cross-border routes and refers to its co-operation with the Council of Europe in the field of cultural tourism, mentioning the Via Francigena and Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage ways.

53. The study of the impact of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe on small and medium-sized industries3 launched in 2010 jointly by the Council of Europe and the European Commission, indicates that all the cultural routes provide opportunities for SMEs to develop products and services within the framework of the tourism activities that the Routes generate.

54. A major aspect in this field is the involvement and awareness of the different stakeholders of the objectives of the route, which is the main guarantee that tourism products are socially and environmentally sustainable.

D. Priority fields of action (Part II)

55. Part II of the Appendix describes how the six criteria enumerated in Part I should be implemented. Five priority fields of action are identified:

    - Co-operation in research and development;

    - Enhancement of memory, history and European heritage;

    - Cultural and educational exchanges for young Europeans;

    - Contemporary cultural and artistic practice;

    - Cultural tourism and sustainable cultural development.

56. The challenges and modalities of co-operation in the first two lines of action (co-operation in research and development and enhancement of memory, history and European heritage) have been developed above (Parts I.2. and 3 of the Resolution, paragraphs 37 to 41). An explanation of the action required in cultural tourism and sustainable cultural development is given in paragraphs 46 to 53.

57. The line of action relating to enhancement of memory, history and European heritage draws attention to an additional aspect of the cultural routes as “open air” laboratories of European construction. They are the grass-roots application of the principles set out in charters, conventions and recommendations on cultural heritage and sustainable tourism, using an educational approach aimed to raise awareness of the importance of protection and sustainability.

58. Projects are therefore asked to take account and promote statutory texts of the Council of Europe, UNESCO and ICOMOS relating to heritage restoration and protection, landscape and spatial planning, identifying European heritage sites and areas other than the monuments and sites generally exploited by tourism, in particular in rural areas, but also in industrial areas in the process of economic restructuring.

59. In practice, although the principle actors and partners of cultural routes may be familiar with the relevant instruments, as the network expands this knowledge becomes diluted and vague. Efforts are required to make the texts more accessible to all types of public.

60. The third priority field of action, Cultural and educational exchanges for young Europeans, returns to the requirement in Part II that specific priority should be given to involving the young generations in the cultural route, which in this section is explained in further detail. Emphasis is put on the need to propose activities which put children and young people in direct, personal contact with the places and people related to the route, and to ensure that groups are socially and culturally mixed in order to provoke meaningful exchanges. Educational activities should encompass both formal platforms (schools, universities) and non-formal forms of learning.

61. Contemporary cultural and artistic practice. From its inception, the cultural routes programme was designed to encourage “living culture”. The Santiago Declaration of 23 October 1987,4 launching the first cultural route, urged public authorities, institutions and individual citizens to “foster contemporary artistic and cultural expression in order to renew this tradition and bear witness to the timeless values of Europe's cultural identity.”

62. Subsequently, the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society5 recognises in its Preamble “the need to put people and human values at the centre of an enlarged and cross-disciplinary concept of cultural heritage” as well as “the value and potential of cultural heritage wisely used as a resource for sustainable development and quality of life in a constantly evolving society”.

63. The objectives of this requirement are to ensure that routes:

    - encourage exchange and intercultural debate centred around culture and art in Europe;

    - foster a relationship with cultural heritage which is not limited to the show-casing of static objects;

    - encourage contemporary artistic practices which serve to re-interpret history and culture whilst perpetuating and giving value to traditional crafts and skills;

    - encourage the combination of tangible and intangible heritage in an individual, holistic experience of culture and cultural heritage which facilitates access to culture and cultural activities by all;

    - highlight innovative practices linked to culture and history in all dimensions of creativity and cultural expression.

64. Young people are mentioned once again in this context as potential beneficiaries of the type of non-formal skills education that can be produced through the transmission and re-interpretation of cultural and artistic practices.

65. Since the system of cultural routes’ evaluation has developed, this requirement appears to be one of the most difficult to fulfill. The Governing Board has decided to examine ways of assisting routes managers in finding solutions to this difficulty in the future.

E. Criteria for networks (Part III)

66. Part III of the Resolution, entitled “List of criteria for networks”, shows how the theme and the fields of action are carried out within an international network of associated partners.

67. The co-operation process between associations from different countries constitutes one of the most important dimensions of the programme. An important practical step is the creation of a European network with a legal status, which brings together the sites and the stakeholders which are part of the route, either in the form of an association or a federation of associations.

68. Each network has to work in a democratic and participative way, involving all the partners who share responsibilities and tasks. Project initiators form “multidisciplinary networks”, with members in at least three Council of Europe member States.

69. Networks must present a conceptual framework based on research carried out in the framework of the theme chosen and accepted by the different network partners, involving several Council of Europe member States. This section adds a new aspect to the objectives of the routes, which is that projects must involve as large a number as possible of States Parties to the European Cultural Convention and endeavour to develop their geographical scope to other countries in the future.

70. The initiators must ensure that the projects proposed are financially and organisationally viable.

71. The final clause of Part III is the basis for the documentation to be sent to the European Institute of Cultural Routes by candidates for certification. It states that networks must:

- offer a comprehensive programme and specify its objectives, methods, partners, participating countries (current and envisaged) and the overall development of the programme in the medium and long term;

- demonstrate how these activities relate to the five priority fields of action in Part II of the Appendix to Resolution CM/Res(2013)67 (research and development, enhancement of memory, history and heritage, cultural and educational exchanges for young Europeans, contemporary cultural and artistic practice, cultural tourism and sustainable cultural development);

- identify, in the various member countries of the Council of Europe, the main initiators, participants and other potential partners likely to form a network; specify, where appropriate, at international level, other partner organisations;

- specify the regions concerned by the project;

- provide details of their financing and operational plan;

- append the basic text(s) relating to their legal status;

- define and implement indicators aimed to measure the impact of the activities of cultural routes.

72. In addition to comprehensive reports on the activities organised and planned, routes coordinators are asked to provide details of all the different partnerships established and identified, a programme of activities over three years, the statutes of their association and information on publications and communication materials produced. As stated in the text, budgets must also be included.

73. The information supplied is based on the replies to a questionnaire concerning all the fields of action in Part II of the Resolution and all the legal and administrative structures of the route network.

F. Certification (Part IV)

74. The three sections of Part IV of the Appendix to Resolution CM/Res(2013)67 set out the procedure whereby candidates may apply for certification.

75. Under section 1, the EPA Governing Board is established as the authority which decides on the award of certification, taking its decisions during its annual meeting which usually takes place in April.

76. The decisions should, however, be approved by the Council of Europe’s relevant intergovernmental steering committee.6 During the pilot phase of the EPA this provision was rather problematic as the annual meeting of the Governing Board took place before the annual meeting of the CDCPP, therefore consultation was not feasible prior to the decisions. On a proposal by the Governing Board, an observer representing the CDCPP should henceforth participate in its meeting as an observer and have the opportunity to make observations.

77. The previous rules provided for two types of award: “Major Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” and “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe”. A third reference “In the framework of the cultural routes of the Council of Europe”, could be attributed to an individual event or project supported by the programme.

78. Since 2007, this system has been simplified to one type of certification, that of “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe”. A distinction between routes with “major” significance and the others appeared to be in contradiction with a non-hierarchical conception of heritage and culture, and the legitimacy of establishing such a distinction was doubted. As for the third title, the Council of Europe’s central system of patronage of events was considered adequate to cover such occurrences.

79. The Governing Board’s decision is taken after several prior stages of work:

    - the European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR) assists candidates in preparing their applications, made on the basis of replies to a substantial questionnaire. These are submitted in September each year;

    - the director of the EICR presents the list of candidates to the Bureau of the Governing Board, which decides in view of the complexity of the application or of its theme whether or not the file requires evaluation by an independent expert as well as the evaluation carried out internally by the EICR;

    - once evaluations are made, the Bureau examines the files of the candidates and the evaluations made, and formulates a recommendation to the Governing Board as to the certification;

    - new routes projects are invited to attend the meeting of the Governing Board and make an audio-visual presentation.

80. In the months between submission of the files and the meeting of the Governing Board, the Bureau may ask the EPA Executive Secretary to request further information from the route in order to make its recommendation.

81. Section 2 stipulates that the title “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” and the logo of the Council of Europe shouls appear on the routes’ communication materials. Visibility guidelines are those of the Council of Europe.

82. Although most routes are proud to demonstrate their certification and set high value to the programme, the secretariat has noted some problems with the implementation of this requirement, stemming from different reasons:

    - some routes which already existed before certification have already developed their communication materials and thus take time to integrate the Council of Europe logo;

    - routes which cross or follow existing signposting are not always free to use additional logos (hiking paths, for instance);

    - routes often benefit from European Commission programmes where the Commission’s logo is compulsory, creating some confusion over which “European logo” is appropriate;

    - financial support may come from other sources, engendering a discouraging multiplication of logos to include in a route’s visual identity.

83. In the future, more work will be done on finding solutions to these issues of visibility, especially taking into account the possibilities offered by new technologies.

84. Section 3 gives indications on the evaluation procedure for certified cultural routes. Routes are required to submit every three years a complete set of information, with the same content as that requested from candidates for certification.

85. The Resolution allows a high level of flexibility in relation to the award and withdrawal of certification. This ensures that the level of excellence is maintained for the projects authorised to use the Council of Europe logo and the title of “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe”.

86. Any route not found in conformity with one or more of the criteria for certification receives a warning at the end of the corresponding evaluation cycle, with indications as to the criteria concerned, and is given one year to remedy the situation. If at the end of the one-year period conformity with the criteria has not been re-established, the Governing Board has the right to withdraw certification, providing the relevant intergovernmental committee agrees. As for certification of new routes, if there is no agreement the final decision rests with the Committee of Ministers.

87. In some rare cases it has agreed to extend the period of “warning” in order to accommodate duly justified slow administrative procedures, etc., on a case-by-case basis. In two recent cases (The Vikings Route and the Wenzel and Vauban Routes) it has “suspended” the certification in the absence of an active network. This means that the name is not removed from the list of cultural routes but that the evaluation will be resumed in the next cycle.

88. The final provision refers to the fact that Governing Board may adopt rules of procedure concerning practical modalities.


2 See document GR-C(2010)8.




6 At the time of adoption of Resolution CM/Res(2013)67, the Steering Committee for Culture, Heritage and Landscape (CDCPP).



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