Article 1 Aims and tasks
The Enlarged Partial Agreement (EPA) shall contribute to the promotion of European identity and citizenship through knowledge and awareness of Europe’s common heritage, and the development of cultural links and dialogue within Europe as well as with other countries and regions. It shall seek to shape a shared cultural space through the development of Cultural Routes aiming to foster awareness-raising about heritage, education, networking, quality and sustainable cross-border tourism and other related activities.
The EPA shall contribute to reinforcing the potential of Cultural Routes for cultural co-operation, sustainable territorial development and social cohesion, with a particular focus on themes of symbolic importance for European unity, history, culture and values and the discovery of less well-known destinations. It shall strengthen the democratic dimension of cultural exchange and tourism through the involvement of grassroots networks and associations, local and regional authorities, universities and professional organisations. It shall contribute to the preservation of a diverse heritage through theme-based and alternative tourist itineraries and cultural projects.
The EPA shall contribute to the development and promotion of the Cultural Routes concept in all its aspects in order to raise awareness globally of Europe as a tourism destination of a unique value and quality.
Cultural Route: a cultural, educational heritage and tourism co-operation project aiming at the development and promotion of an itinerary or a series of itineraries based on a historic route, a cultural concept, figure or phenomenon with a transnational importance and significance for the understanding and respect of common European values.
Cultural Route operator: an organisation or a grouping of organisations legally registered in one or several of the Council of Europe member states, or a public institution, which carries the legal, financial and moral responsibility for the management and functioning of a cultural route and represents the route vis-à-vis the Council of Europe.
“Council of Europe Cultural Route” certification: certification awarded to cultural routes that satisfy the criteria outlined in Resolution CM/Res(2010)52 of the Committee of Ministers on the rules for the award of the “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certification.
Policy-making and standard setting
The EPA, drawing in particular on the expertise of the European Cultural Routes Institute, shall provide advice and expert assistance for the development, implementation, evaluation and promotion of Cultural Routes. This involves expertise on:
§ setting up and functioning of project networks and organisations and the development of co-operation agreements;
§ research on the historical background of the routes and the development of the cultural and educational content and activities of the Cultural Routes;
§ development of a sustainable tourist offer based on the Cultural Routes, thus contributing to the economic well-being of regions;
§ preparation and implementation of financing and promotion strategies;
§ training and capacity building for Cultural Routes operators, in particular in relation to Council of Europe and other international standards in the field of heritage and culture, as well as standards of professional practice in the field of tourism;
§ promotion, visibility and all other aspects related to the compliance with the Council of Europe standards.
The EPA shall support networking and exchange between Cultural Routes operators and other partners in the field of cultural tourism, in particular for:
§ the development of a common vision and strategy for cultural routes as tourism products;
§ the development of partnerships to increase the resources available for cultural tourism in Europe;
§ the identification and dissemination of good practice.
EPA shall contribute to developing new orientations and standards in relation to cultural routes and tourism in response to the challenges and concerns of modern societies.
EPA shall develop further methodologies for the promotion of cross border cultural tourism.
EPA shall award the Council of Europe Cultural Route certification in accordance with Resolution CM/Res(2010)52 of the Committee of Ministers on the rules for the award of the “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certification.
1.3 Programme of Activities
EPA shall implement a programme of activities as decided by the Governing Board.
Article 2 Accession and membership
2.1 Any member state of the Council of Europe or a Contracting Party to the European Cultural Convention may join the EPA by notification addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
2.2 The Committee of Ministers, in its composition restricted to the representatives of the member states of the EPA, may, by the majority stipulated in Article 20.d of the Statute of the Council of Europe, invite any non-member state of the Council of Europe to join the EPA, following consultation of EPA members which are not members of the Council of Europe. A non-member state which receives such an invitation shall notify the Secretary General of its intention to become a member of the EPA.
2.3 The European Union is invited to join the EPA.
2.4 Member states of the Council of Europe and other Contracting Parties to the European Cultural Convention not joining the EPA may request the status of observer with EPA for a period of maximum two years. Decisions in such matters, including on possible financial contributions by observers, will be made by the Governing Board of the EPA.
2.5 The Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and the Conference of INGOs, may participate in the work of the EPA in accordance with Article 3.4 below.
Article 3 Governing Board
3.1 The Governing Board of the EPA shall be composed of one representative appointed by each member of the EPA as well as two representatives of the European Union – one representing the European Commission and one representing the European Parliament.
3.2 The Governing Board shall elect from among its members a bureau comprised of a chair, one vice-chair, three other members, for a term of office of two years, renewable only once.
3.3 The Governing Board shall:
§ be responsible for the general implementation of the tasks conferred to the EPA;
§ award the Council of Europe Cultural Route certification in accordance with Resolution CM/Res(2010)52 of the Committee of Ministers on the rules for the award of the “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certification;
§ adopt the draft annual programme of activities of the EPA and submit it, in conformity with the Financial Regulations of the Council of Europe, to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe relating to the elaboration of the draft annual budget, prior to its transmission to the organ set up under Article 5.2 below;
§ decide on projects consistent with the Council of Europe’s political priorities;
§ oversee relations with the European Cultural Routes Institute in order to ensure the consistency between its actions and the EPA programme of activities;
§ monitor the implementation of the programme of activities;
§ adopt and transmit an annual activity report to the Committee of Ministers.
3.4 The Governing Board shall meet once a year. It may invite representatives of the relevant Council of Europe bodies to attend its meetings, without voting rights, according to the items on its agenda.
3.5 The Governing Board may assign operational tasks to its Bureau. The Bureau shall be convened by the chair of the Governing Board at least once a year.
3.6 The Governing Board shall adopt its decisions by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, with each member having one vote. Procedural matters shall be settled by a majority of the votes cast. In all other matters, the Governing Board shall adopt its own rules of procedure and any other arrangements for the implementation of its activities.
3.7 In order to discharge the Secretary General from responsibility for the management of the EPA for the financial year in question, the Governing Board shall transmit to the Committee of Ministers the annual accounts, together with its approval or any comments, and the report drawn up by the External Auditor, as provided for in the Financial Regulations.
Article 4 Cultural Routes Advisory Forum
4.1 A meeting of representatives of Cultural Routes operators, networks, international heritage and tourism organisations and platforms, local and regional authorities, civil society organisations, Chambers of Commerce, foundations and other donor organisations, professional organisations in the field of tourism, heritage and culture or other relevant bodies will take place annually in the form of a Cultural Routes Advisory Forum.
4.2 Participation in the forum will take place upon invitation or registration accepted by the Secretariat of the EPA.
4.3 The forum will discuss trends and challenges in relation to Cultural Routes and provide a platform for the exchange of experience, review of progress with the implementation of Cultural Routes, debates on new professional practice, the launch of new initiatives and the development of partnerships.
Article 5 Budget
5.1 The EPA resources shall comprise:
§ annual contributions from each member joining the EPA and, if appropriate, contributions by observers in pursuance of Article 2.4;
§ any other payment, donation or bequest, subject to the provisions of paragraph 5.4 below.
The EPA may receive contributions by the European Union.
5.2 The EPA budget and the specific scale of contributions shall be adopted annually by an organ composed of the representatives on the Committee of Ministers of the member states participating in the EPA and the representatives of the other members who shall thus be entitled to vote.
5.3 Expenditure related to the implementation of the programme of activities and common secretariat expenditure shall be covered by a partial agreement budget funded by the members of the EPA and, if appropriate, the observers. The expenditure for the seat of the EPA, as well as that related to the staff and operational costs of the European Cultural Routes Institute, shall appear in the accounts of the EPA as an information item.
5.4 The EPA may also receive voluntary and other contributions connected with the work of the agreement, subject to the authorisation of the Governing Board prior to their acceptance. These contributions shall be paid into a special account, opened under the terms of Article 4.2 of the Financial Regulations of the Council of Europe, monitored by the Governing Board and shall be earmarked for the objectives and tasks specified, provided that they are consistent with the aims of the statute.
5.5 The EPA assets shall be acquired and held on behalf of the Council of Europe and shall benefit as such from the privileges and immunities applicable to the Council's assets under existing agreements.
5.6 Travel and subsistence expenses of persons attending meetings of the Governing Board shall be borne by the state or the organisation concerned.
5.7 The travel and subsistence expenses of persons attending the Cultural Routes Advisory Forum shall be paid by the participants, unless otherwise decided by the Governing Board on the basis of special purpose allocations specified in the operational budget of the EPA.
5.8 The Financial Regulations of the Council of Europe shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the adoption and management of the EPA budget.
Article 6 Secretariat
6.1 The Secretariat of the EPA, headed by an Executive Secretary, shall be provided by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
6.2 The Executive Secretary may call on institutions and independent experts in the areas concerned by the programme.
6.3 The seat of the EPA will be located in Luxembourg, in the premises of the European Cultural Routes Institute, by courtesy of the Government of Luxembourg.
Article 7 Amendments
The Committee of Ministers, in its composition restricted to the representatives of the states members of the EPA and after consultation with EPA members that are not members of the Council of Europe, may adopt amendments to this statute by the majority provided for under Article 20.d of the Statute of the Council of Europe.
Article 8 Withdrawal
8.1 Any member may withdraw from the EPA by means of a declaration sent to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
8.2 The Secretary General shall acknowledge receipt of the declaration and so inform the members of the EPA.
8.3 By analogy with Article 7 of the Statute of the Council of Europe, withdrawal shall take effect:
§ at the end of the financial year in which it is notified, if such notification is given during the first nine months of that financial year;
§ at the end of the following financial year, if notification of withdrawal is given in the last three months of the financial year.
8.4 In accordance with Article 18 of the Council of Europe’s Financial Regulations, the Governing Board shall examine the financial consequences of the withdrawal of a member and shall make the appropriate arrangements.
8.5 The Secretary General shall immediately inform the member concerned of the consequences of its withdrawal.