Along with the direct funding offered through the Culture Sub-Programme, the European Commission also funds support measures for Special Actions. These actions are designed to raise awareness of Europe’s culture and heritage sectors by rewarding achievement and highlighting excellence.

The Special Actions include:

European Capitals of Culture 

The European Capitals of Culture initiative is designed to Highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe, increase European citizens' sense of belonging to a common cultural area and foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities. European Capitals of Culture are formally designated four years before the actual year. This long period of time is necessary for the planning and preparation of such a complex event. The panel, supported by the European Commission, has a continuing role during these four years in supporting European Capitals of Culture with advice and guidance and taking stock of their preparations. 

Galway, Ireland is designated Capital of Culture 2020 along with Rijeka, Croatia. 

European Heritage Days

European Heritage Days provide access to thousands of rarely opened sites and unique events to over 20 million people every year. During the European Heritage Days, doors are opened to thousands of monuments and sites (some of them normally closed to the public), allowing people to enjoy free visits, learn about their shared cultural heritage and become actively involved in the safeguarding of Europe's heritage for present and future generations.

European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage

In March 2016 the Little Museum of Dublin was awarded a 2016 European Union prize for cultural heritage, the Europa Nostra Award. The prize is Europe’s highest honour in the heritage field and is supported by Creative Europe. On the Little Museum of Dublin, which was chosen in the education, training and awareness raising category, the independent jury commented on its ‘innovative and creative approach to establishing a museum about the people’s history of a city’.

EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture / EU Mies Award

The EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture is a biennial prize highlighting outstanding architectural works built across Europe. Besides the main prize (€60,000), the Award also includes the Emerging Architect Prize (€20,000). Since 2001, the prize has been co-organised by the European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe every other year. The prize was called the Mies van der Rohe Award from 1988, when it was created, until 1998. It is also referred to in short as the EU Mies Award.

European Heritage Label

European Heritage sites are milestones in the creation of today’s Europe. Spanning from the dawn of civilization to the Europe we see today, these sites celebrate and symbolise European ideals, values, history and integration. Since 2013, these sites have been carefully selected for their symbolic value, the role they have played in the European history and activities they offer that bring the European Union and its citizens closer together.

European Border Breakers Award (Music)

The European Border Breakers Awards (EBBA) are about breaking down borders and recognising emerging European rock, pop and dance artists who achieved success in other countries than their own. The EBBA are co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, and organised by Eurosonic Noorderslag, in partnership with the European Broadcasting Union.

European Union Prize for Literature

The European Union Prize for Literature is an annual initiative to recognise the best emerging authors in Europe. Launched by the European Commission in 2009, the prize is open to countries participating in the Creative Europe programme for the cultural and creative sectors. The EUPL is at present organised by a consortium consisting of the European Booksellers Federation, the European Writers' Council and the Federation of European Publishers. 

The Prize aims to:

  • showcase and put a spotlight on Europe’s diverse wealth of contemporary fiction;
  • raise the profile of winning authors outside their home country and help them cross borders and reach broader readership;
  • raise general awareness and stimulate interest in the whole book sector about the literary diversity in Europe;
  • promote actively the publishing, translation, selling and reading of books from other European countries; 
  • Encourage transnational circulation of literature, both in Europe and beyond. 

European Union Prix MEDIA

Please visit the European Commission Special Actions page here for more information.

MUSIC MOVES EUROPE TALENT AWARDS

As a specific action within Music Moves Europe, the European Union seeks to highlight and promote the diversity of the European repertoire with a new European Union Prize for popular and contemporary music: The Music Moves Talent Awards.

Since 2019, the annual awards celebrate emerging artists who represent the European sound of today and tomorrow. The Prize is implemented by Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) in partnership with Reeperbahn Festival and co-funded by the Creative Europe programme. It gets the support of a unique alliance of European music industry partners.