The procedure for drawing up the list, which aims to establish a cultural base for greater European integration, complements the Council of Europe “Cultural Itineraries” programme, which promotes the influence of and consensus on common European values. Cultural assets, monuments, natural or urban spaces and places that have played an essential role in the history of Europe may feature, as part of a network or individually, in the Category of European Heritage programme list.
Procedural rules for joining the European Heritage Seal scheme were approved in the meeting held in Madrid on 25 January 2007.
All institutions, foundations, organisations and associations with aims and activities that include the protection and publicising of cultural heritage may participate in this European category.
Candidacies may be national, from a single country. In Spain’s case, it would be of interest to present candidacies that encompass cultural aspects common to different geographical areas.
Candidacies may be transnational, the projects of which must encompass the association of issues common to different countries.
The European Heritage Seal is open to any member state of the European Union that wishes to take part in the programme, though also to other European states and in particular to candidate countries belonging to the European Economic Area.
Entities wishing to submit an application as a candidate for the European Heritage Seal, must first contact the government of the region in which the affected assets are located.
The regional government will act as intermediary in the Historical Heritage Council to submit candidacies. If accepted, the candidacies will be included in the indicative list of projects that will be forwarded to the European Heritage Seal's Secretariat. At this time, projects must be submitted in English or French for examination by an International Committee of Experts.
At national level: the procedural rules attribute establishment of the selection procedures to each Member State, although they do suggest the possibility of creating a national committee of experts, which would be entrusted with proposing the projects to be submitted to the European Committee.
In Spain’s case, this function is performed by the Historical Heritage Council.
At Community level: there is a European Heritage Committee, made up of the Ministries of Culture and of Heritage and the European Commissioner for Culture, or the latter’s representatives. This Committee, which meets once a year, is responsible for establishing the criteria and deciding the registration of assets and sites submitted by the national committees.