EU Cultural Framework Programme The Facilitator for the Syndicate Group on the European Union’s Raphael Programme and proposed Cultural Framework Programme was Theo Mastrominas, European Commission DG X (Audio-Visual Media, Information, Communication and Culture). Vassilis Koniordos, Architect, Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and the Cultural Heritage, Greece, chaired the session and acted as rapporteur, with input, from Dace Dravniece, Official, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Latvia. Theo Mastrominas outlined the background to the Raphael Programme, explaining that it was launched in 1994 to support cultural heritage projects. An important aspect of projects was emphasis on exchange of experience and co-operation between participants. The budget available for 1997, explained Theo Mastrominas, was 10 Mecu. Projects were selected, he continued, according to a list of priorities and the Commission used independent experts to help with the selection. The Raphael Programme was to come to an end at the end of 1999, explained Theo Mastrominas, and the Commission had proposed to introduce in 2000 a Framework Programme which would bring together all the European Union funding programmes in support of culture (Raphael, for cultural Heritage; Ariane, for books and reading; and Kaleidoscope, for cultural events). He explained that this initiative was agreed after the International Culture Forum in Brussels. All organisations would be eligible to apply for up to 50% funding for projects and there had to be partners from at least 3 countries actively involved in the projects. Some good projects had been rejected in the past, he explained, because the partners had been only superficially involved in the project. Theo Mastrominas stressed that the value of the exchange of experience should be seen by partners as more important than the money. The Group discussed the three categories which are proposed for this programme: Category 1 for integrated projects governed by actions such as cultural events, technical support, training, education and the promotion of cultural heritage; Category 2 for major projects such as the European City of Culture, cultural festivals and cross-border television; and Category 3 for more specific projects such as spreading new forms and cultural expertise, regional diversion and promotion and multimedia tools. The Group also examined how new employment opportunities could be created through cultural heritage projects. It was agreed that one of the greatest challenges experienced by participant in developing projects for Raphael funding, was establishing active partnerships with other European heritage conservation organisations and Theo Mastrominas confirmed that the new Cultural Framework Programme also has a requirement for active transnational partnerships. It was concluded that the various communication mechanisms which have been, or are being developed, in the context of ENNHO, i.e. the Directory of Members and the ENNHO Website, would be invaluable in developing such partnerships.