Council of Europe. Resolution (98) 4 on the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe (March 1998)






(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 17 March 1998,
at the 623rd meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)


    The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe,

    Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members and that this aim may be pursued through joint action in the cultural field;

    Considering that one of the main aims of European cultural co-operation is to promote the European identity in its unity and its diversity;

    Considering that highlighting the influences, exchanges and developments which have formed the European identity can facilitate awareness of a European citizenship based on the sharing of common values;

    Considering that it is essential for younger generations to acquire this awareness of a European identity and citizenship and the common values on which they are based;

    Considering that in order to identify such common values, it is necessary to promote an understanding of Europe's history on the basis of its physical, intangible and natural heritage, so as to bring out the links which unite its various cultures and regions;

    Noting that the identification of European values and a common European cultural heritage may be achieved via cultural routes tracing the history of peoples, migrations, and the spread of the major European currents of civilisation in the fields of philosophy, religion, culture, the arts, science, technology and trade;

    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;

    Considering that such co-operation mobilises and brings together a large number of individuals, organisations, institutions and structures in Europe, and thereby contributes to the process of European construction;

    Considering that in order to maximise the benefits of this co-operation, which requires considerable human and financial resources, a formal framework of co-operation should be established;

    Considering that such a framework enables common objectives to be pursued and provides a guarantee of the quality of the initiatives undertaken,

    Adopts the rules appended to this resolution as a formal framework of co-operation for the Council of Europe's Cultural Routes Programme.


Appendix to Resolution (98) 4


    These rules should be regarded as a formal framework for the implementation of the Council of Europe's Cultural Routes Programme. The routes are to be centred on a theme, which, in order to qualify for the programme, must fulfil a series of criteria, listed in Part I. Each theme is to be dealt with in a series of co-operation projects. Part II of the rules lists the priority fields of action for these projects. Project initiators must form a network so as to improve co-operation and pool their experience. In order to be approved, these networks must in turn satisfy a number of criteria, listed in Part III. The three categories of certification awarded by the Council of Europe are set out in Part IV.


I. List of eligibility criteria for themes

    For a theme to be eligible for the Council of Europe's Cultural Routes Programme, it must satisfy all of the following criteria:

    1. The theme must be representative of European values and common to several countries of Europe.

    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.

    3. The theme must be illustrative of European memory, history and heritage, refer to at least one of the three topics in the general conceptual framework proposed by the programme (peoples, migrations, broad currents of civilisation) and contribute to an interpretation of the diversity of present-day Europe.

    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.

    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 permit the implementation of long-term, multilateral, co-operative projects in various fields of action (see the list of priority fields of action in Part II) through the setting up of multidisciplinary networks located in several Council of Europe member states (see the list of criteria for networks in Part III).


II. List of priority fields of action

    Each theme must give rise to several long-term, multidisciplinary, co-operative projects (criterion no. 6 in Part I); for optimum achievement of the aims of the programme, priorities have been established by the Council of Europe in five fields of action which lend themselves in particular to such co-operative projects.


1. Co-operation in research and development

    In this field of action, projects must:

    - play a unifying role around major European themes, enabling dispersed knowledge to be brought together;

    - show how these themes are representative of European values shared by several European cultures;

    - illustrate the development of these values and the variety of forms they may take in Europe;

    - lend themselves to research and interdisciplinary analysis on both a theoretical and a practical level;


2. Enhancement of the memory, history and European heritage

    In this field of action, projects must:

    - enhance physical and intangible heritages, explain their historical significance and highlight their similarities in the different regions of Europe;

    - take account of and promote the charters, conventions, recommendations and work of the Council of Europe, Unesco, and Icomos relating to heritage restoration, protection and enhancement;

    - identify and enhance 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;

    - take account of the physical and intangible heritage of ethnic or social minorities in Europe;

    - contribute, in the field of training, to raising awareness among the general public and decision-makers of the complex concept of heritage, the necessity to protect it as part of sustainable development, and the challenges and opportunities it represents for the future of Europe.


3. Cultural and educational exchanges for young Europeans

    In this field of action, projects must:

    - include the organisation of long-term activities with the same groups of young people in order to promote in-depth exchanges aimed at developing the concept of European citizenship, enriched by its diversity;

    - place the emphasis on personal and real experiences through the use of places and contacts;

    - encourage decompartmentalisation by organising exchanges of young people not only from different disciplines, but also from different social backgrounds and regions of Europe;

    - constitute pilot schemes with a limited number of participating countries and be provided with sufficient resources for meaningful assessment in order to generate prototypes that can serve as reference models.


4. Contemporary cultural and artistic practice

    In this field of action, projects must:

    - give rise to debate and exchange, in a multidisciplinary perspective, between the various cultural and artistic expressions and sensibilities of the different countries of Europe;

    - highlight, in contemporary cultural and artistic practice, the most innovative practices in terms of creativity, and link them with the history of skills development, whether they belong to the field of the visual arts, the performing arts, creative crafts, architecture, music, literature or any other form of cultural expression;

    - give rise to activities which break down the barriers between professionals and non-professionals, particularly as regards instruction for young Europeans in the relevant fields;

    - lead to the setting up of networks between project initiators and their participants.


5. Cultural tourism and sustainable cultural development

    In this field of action, projects must:

    - take account of local, regional, national and European identities;

    - promote dialogue between urban and rural cultures, between regions in the south, north, east and west of Europe, and between developed and disadvantaged regions;

    - open up possibilities for co-operation between Europe and other continents through the special affinities between certain regions;

    - concern themselves, in the field of cultural tourism, with raising public awareness, drawing decision makers' attention to the necessity of protecting heritage as part of sustainable development of the territory and seek to diversify both supply and demand, with a view to fostering the development of quality tourism with a European dimension.


III. List of criteria for networks

    Project initiators should form multidisciplinary networks located in several member states. Such networks must be approved by the Council of Europe in accordance with a specific appraisal procedure and undergo periodic evaluation.


1. Approval criteria for networks

    To be approved, networks must:

    - choose a theme or an aspect of a theme forming part of the Council of Europe's Cultural Routes Programme;

    - present a conceptual framework based on research carried out into the theme chosen and accepted by the different network partners;

    - involve several member countries through all or part of their project(s), although this does not exclude activities of a bilateral nature;

    - plan to involve, where possible, at least one of the recent signatories of the European Cultural Convention;

    - ensure that the projects proposed are financially and organisationally viable;

    - have a legal status, either in the form of an association or a federation of associations;

    - operate democratically;

    - provide all the necessary material for the appraisal of their project(s) and for the evaluation of their activities (see points 2 and 3 below).


2. Appraisal of a proposed network

    In order for a proposed network to be accepted, it must undergo, following a favourable opinion of the competent governmental bodies, an appraisal procedure based on the following criteria:

    - the proposed theme must correspond to the eligibility criteria set out in Part I.1 or fit into an existing theme of the Council of Europe's Cultural Routes Programme;

    - the proposed network must:

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

            - identify, in the various member countries, 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 must be specified;

            - provide details of its financing and operational plan;

            - append the basic text(s) relating to its legal status.


3. Evaluation of the networks

    In order to retain their approved status, networks must submit, every two years, a report enabling the Council of Europe:

    - to evaluate their activities in order to ascertain whether they satisfy the basic criteria (see point 1 above); 

    - to verify whether the implementation of their projects corresponds to the criteria selected for the development of a theme and its fields of action (see Parts I and II above).


IV. List of categories of routes and corresponding certification

    The certifications awarded by the Council of Europe correspond to three categories of routes:

1.    First category

    Proposals may fall under this category if they:

    - are organised around a pan-European theme;

    - propose, in connection with this theme, a variety of projects in various European regions and promote long-term co-operation in several fields of action;

    - give rise to active networks, establishing communication between regions and countries, and bring together interdisciplinary skills.

    The corresponding certification for this category is "Major Cultural Route of the Council of Europe".

    It is awarded by the committee responsible for the follow-up to the cultural routes on a proposal from the advisory committee.


2.    Second category

    Proposals may fall under this category if they:

    - are organised around a theme having a limited European impact both historically and geographically;

    - develop projects which relate to one or more fields of action;

    - bring together the various parties in networks.

    The corresponding certification for this category is "Cultural Route of the Council of Europe".

    It is awarded by the committee responsible for the follow-up to thecultural routes on a proposal from the advisory committee.


3.    Third category

    Proposals may fall under this category if they:

    - refer to one of the themes of the Council of Europe's (pan-)European routes;

    - develop an initiative related to one of the fields of action;

    - concern an event or an activity of a one-off nature.

    The corresponding certification for this category is: "In the framework of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe", these words preceding the title of the operation.

    It is awarded by the Directorate of Education, Culture and Sport.



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