From 2013 designation of European Capitals of Culture will be covered by a completely new procedure, based on which not the Member States governments will decide about nomination of a city. The new EU provisions introduce the obligation to organise a contest on a national level and assess the programme of the event by an international panel of experts. This will assure transparency and objectivity of the nomination.
According to the rules, the EU-Member State to host the ECC actively participates in selecting the winning city. The State, customarily represented by the Minister of Culture, announces the start of the contest, sets the selection timetable, and prepares information and organization meetings for cities interested in the title. It is also responsible for appointment of the 13-people selection panel, consisting of six national experts and seven experts nominated by the European institutions.
Finally, at the end of the selection process, the State concerned informs EU institutions about the candidate selected by the jury to be designated for EEC. Nomination of a city is formally approved by the Council of the European Union based on the opinion of the European Parliament and reports of the selection panel.
The contest was divided into 3 stages: