See individual actions and websites for calls
Along with the direct funding offered through the Culture strand, 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:
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.
In 2020, Galway was a European Capital of Culture alongside Rijecka, Croatia.
European Heritage Label European Heritage sites are milestones in the creation of today’s Europe. Spanning from the dawn of civilisation to the Europe we see today, these sites celebrate and symbolise European ideals, values, history and integration. Since 2013, these sites have been selected for their symbolic value, the role they have played in European history and activities they offer. These sites bring the European Union and its citizens closer together.
The European Heritage Awards/Europa Nostra Awards put a spotlight on projects, initiatives and personalities in the field of cultural heritage. The EU Prize for Cultural Heritage recognises achievements in the field of cultural heritage across Europe in 5 main categories:
- Conservation and Adaptive Reuse
- Education, Training, and Skills
- Citizens Engagement and Awareness-raising
- Heritage Champions
The most recent Irish award winner in 2023, is the Museum of Literature Ireland, Dublin which won a Europa Nostra prize for Citizens’ Engagement & Awareness-raising. In 2023, 28 initiatives and outstanding personalities from 20 European countries were awared. The prizes are a reflection of the latest developments and priorities related to heritage policy and practice in Europe.
In 2016, the Little Museum of Dublin was awarded a 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.
The EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture is a biennial prize highlighting outstanding architectural works built across Europe awarded since 2001. The award also highlights the contribution of quality architecture to sustainable development.
The award ceremony is held in May in the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona, Spain. A catalogue and a travelling exhibition are produced to present the nominated, shortlisted and awarded projects for each prize. An app is also available to view and locate nominated works.
In 2022, Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects were awarded the prestigious Mies Van der Rohe award for their 'Town House - Kingston University' project.
European Heritage Days is co-organised by the European Union and the Council of Europe. During European Heritage Days, thousands of monuments and sites open their doors, some of them normally closed to the public for the rest of the year. This allows people to enjoy free visits, learn about their shared cultural heritage and become part of safeguarding Europe's heritage for present and future generations.
European Heritage Days provide access to thousands of rarely opened sites and unique events to over 20 million people every year. It takes place in 50 signatory countries to the European Cultural Convention organised in close collaboration with national coordinators.
Within each country, a network of regional and local authorities, civic and private groups and thousands of volunteers are in charge of organising events. Each year comes with a special common pan-European theme. Countries can join in the annual common theme. Alternatively, they can organise events around a local adaptation of the theme or a theme of their choice.
In Ireland, the Irish coordinator is the National Heritage Council.
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.
- In 2019, Northern Irish writer Jan Carson has won the EU prize for literature for her book The Fire Starters.
- In 2022, Irish nominee Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin was one of five titles to receive a special mention from the jury for his Irish language novel, Madame Lazare.
As a specific action within Music Moves Europe, the EU highlights and promote the diversity of contemporary European music with the Music Moves Talent Awards.
Since 2019, the annual awards celebrate emerging artists. The Prize is implemented by Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) in partnership with Reeperbahn Festival and co-funded by Creative Europe programme with the support of an alliance of European music industry partners. The Music Moves Europe Award winners receive €10,000.
- In 2022, Irish artist Denise Chaila was one of five winners of the MME Award.