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Each application is based on a cultural programme with a strong European dimension.

The criteria for assessing applications are divided into the categories "contribution to the long-term strategy", "European dimension", "cultural and artistic content", "capacity to deliver", "outreach" and "management".

For the "contribution to long-term strategy" category, the following factors are taken into account:

(a) at the time of application, the candidate city has a cultural strategy which includes an action and plans to maintain cultural activities beyond the year of validity of the title;
(b) plans to strengthen the capacity of the cultural and creative sectors, including the development of long-term links between the cultural, economic and social sectors in the candidate city;
(c) the expected long-term cultural, social and economic impact of the title on the candidate city, including its development;
(d) plans for monitoring and assessing the impact of the title on the candidate city and plans for disseminating the results of the evaluation.

For the "European dimension" category, the following factors are considered:

(a) the scope and quality of activities promoting Europe's cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and greater mutual understanding between European citizens;
(b) the scope and quality of activities highlighting common aspects of European cultures, heritage and history, as well as European integration and current European issues;
(c) the scope and quality of the activities in which European artists participate, cooperation with actors or cities in different countries and, where appropriate, title-holding cities, and transnational partnerships;
(d) strategies to arouse the interest of the general European and international public.

For the category "cultural and artistic content", the following factors are considered:

(a) a clear and comprehensive artistic vision and strategy for the cultural programme;
(b) the involvement of local artists and cultural organizations in the preparation and implementation of the cultural program;
(c) the scope and diversity of the activities proposed and their overall artistic quality;
(d) the ability to combine local cultural heritage and traditional art forms with new, innovative and experimental cultural expressions.

In the case of the "capacity to deliver" category, candidate cities must demonstrate that:

(a) the application has broad and strong political support and has been made a sustainable commitment by local, regional and national authorities;
(b) the candidate city has or will have an adequate and viable infrastructure to become a title holder.

For the "outreach" category, the following factors are considered:

(a) the involvement of local people and civil society in the preparation and implementation of the event;
(b) creating new and sustainable opportunities for a wide range of citizens, in particular young people, volunteers and marginalized and disadvantaged people, including minorities, to enable them to participate in or engage in cultural activities, with special attention being paid to the accessibility of these activities to people; with disabilities and the elderly;
(c) the overall strategy for audience development, and in particular its link with education and school participation.

For the "management" category, the following factors are considered:

(a) the feasibility of the fundraising strategy and the proposed budget, including, where appropriate, the intention to apply for financial support from Union programmes and funds, where the budget includes a preparatory phase, year of title, evaluation and follow-up and contingency plans;
(b) the planned management and organizational structure for the implementation of the action, which shall include, inter alia, appropriate cooperation between the local authorities and the body providing the organization, including the arts team;
(c) the procedures for appointing the Director-General and the Artistic Director and their areas of responsibility;
(d) a marketing and communication strategy that is comprehensive and emphasizes that the action is a Union action;
(e) the fact that, for the year of the title, the organizational structure has staff with the appropriate skills and experience to plan, manage and organize the cultural program.