Stage I – preselekcja, czyli selekcja wstępna
Member State announces a call for submission of applications six years before the event is due to begin. The Minister of Culture and National Heritage, as the coordinating body on behalf of the Polish Government, will publish the call for submission of applications within the ECC 2016 by the end of 2009.
Candidate cities will have 10 months to prepare an application. An application should present the outline of the programme, which the city plans to realise. The deadline for submitting applications at the first stage shall be scheduled up to 10 months after its publication at the latest, thus, submission of application will close in the autumn 2010.
The Minister of Culture establishes a mixed selection panel consisting of 13 members (seven nominated by the European institutions and six by the Member State) to assess the applications submitted by the Member State.
European institutions nominate seven experts for the period of three years, and every year only a part of the expert group is replaced (2 + 2 + 3). The European Parliament, the EU Council and the Commission nominate two members each, and the Committee of the Regions one. Together with the "national" experts in each of the two Member States, in 2016 it will be Poland and Spain, they assess applications submitted by cities.
The Minister of Culture and National Heritage nominates “national” experts in cooperation with the European Commission, and once nominations are presented by the European institutions, they establish composition of the whole panel. The Commission designates the chairman from among the "European" experts.
Assessment of applications submitted by cities applying for the title of European Capital of Culture 2016 will take place at meetings of the selection panel convened specifically for this purpose.
The selection panel agrees on the so called short-list of cities which are to be considered further and issues a report on the applications of the candidate cities and recommendations to the short-listed candidate cities