Text Box: Cultural Routes Enlarged Partial Agreement (EPA)

Cultural Routes Enlarged Partial Agreement (EPA)

The Council of Europe Cultural Routes Enlarged Partial Agreement (EPA) has been established with a resolution of the Committee of Ministers on December 8th 2010, taking stock of the essential contribution provided by the European Cultural Routes Institute launched in Luxembourg in 1997.

The EPA contributes to the promotion of European identity and citizenship through knowledge and awareness of Europe’s common heritage, and the development of cultural links and dialogue within Europe as well as with other countries and regions.

The EPA reinforces the potential of Cultural Routes for cultural co-operation, sustainable territorial development and social cohesion, with a particular focus on themes of symbolic importance for European unity, history, culture and values and the discovery of less well-known destinations. It strengthens the democratic dimension of cultural exchanges and tourism through the involvement of grassroots networks and associations, local and regional authorities, universities and professional organisations. It contributes to the preservation of a diverse heritage though theme-based and alternative tourist itineraries and cultural projects.

The EPA supports the development and promotion of the Cultural Routes concept and provides expertise to Cultural Routes operators in relation to the Route governance and the development of co-operation agreements, as well as research on the historical background of the routes and the development of the cultural and educational content and activities of the Cultural Routes. It aims at developing a sustainable tourist offer based on Cultural Routes, and contributing to the economic well-being of regions. It also aims at preparing and implementing promotion strategies as well as training Cultural Routes operators.  

The Council of Europe Cultural Route certification has already been awarded to 29 cultural itineraries: Santiago de Compostela, Via Francigena, the Hansa, the Legacy of Al-Andalus, the Olive Tree and the Transromanica, amongst the others.

Since the EPA is an Enlarged Partial Agreement, it is also open for signature to non-member states of the Council of Europe. For the time being, 14 member countries are part of the agreement: Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia and Spain.

Council of Europe relevant Conventions   

European Cultural Convention (Paris 1954)

The Convention aims at a closer unity among member countries of the Council of Europe, and promoting greater understanding while safeguarding standards and principles of common heritage. All 47 Council of Europe member states have signed and ratified the Convention, as well as 3 other countries: the Holy See, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

European Landscape Convention (Florence 2000)

The Convention aims at protection, management and planning of the European landscape, adding elements linked to the environment and quality of life through sustainable development.

Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro 2005)

The Convention builds on the instruments of previous legal texts such as the Convention on the Protection of Architectural Heritage of Europe (1985) and the European Convention on the Protection of Archeological Heritage (1992). The Faro Convention, as it is known, underlined the important values for society and human growth such as economic development, democratic participation and cultural heritage.  


Giuseppe Zaffuto, Media officer

tel. + 33 (0)3 90 21 56 04

giuseppe.zaffuto@coe.int                                                                                       Updated in November 2011