The ECoC selection process

The process of selection of the ECoC can have two outcomes:
  • designation of the ECoC title
  • awarding of the € 1.5 milion Melina Mercouri prize
In the case the prize is awarded, it is paid in the year when the winning city holds the title.

The application should be based on a strong cultural and artistic program, that should contain a strong European dimension and added value and should support cultural diversity of Europe, inter-cultural dialogue and appreciation between European citizens. The determining factor will be the breath and variety of suggested activities and their artistic value. The cultural program should cover the entire year of the ECoC title and must be prepared for this purpose. Criterion of cultural and artistic program is the ability to combine the local cultural heritage and traditional forms of art with new, innovative and experimental cultural forms. Activities that will be undertaken should highlight common aspects of European cultures, heritage and history, European integration and current European topics. The variety and quality of activities is supported by involvement of European artists, international cooperation, cooperation with cities that also hold the title and global partnerships. Added value of the activies is also involvemet and attraction of interest of wide European and international public.

The selection of the ECoC is managed by a group of 12 international experts that considers the applications. The selection has two stages. First stage is a pre-selection stage. Deadline for an application is October 31, 2020. Successful cities will go into a second stage of selection, i.e. a narrower list of candidates. These will advance and develop their applications further to meet the selection criteria.


The selection criteria for designating the title are sub-divided into six categories:

1. Cotribution to the long-term strategy
2. European dimension
3. Cultural and artistic content
4. The ability to achieve the objectives
5. Reach
6. Management