This article aims to show how the local and the European dimensions, as well as urban regeneration and European identity, reinforce each other. Synergies as well as contradictions are analysed through a presentation of one of the European Union's prominent cultural policy initiatives, im-plemented locally: the European City of Culture programme (Ecc). The Ecc is an intergovernmental action that was started in 1985 on the initia-tive of the member states' ministers of culture. The European Council had conferred the title upon only one city per year until 1999. The pro-gramme reached its peak in 2000 when nine cities were nominated simul-taneously to celebrate Europe's "unity in diversity" at the passage of the millennium. This programme is thus a primary example of the EU's at-tempts at awakening European consciousness by promoting its symbols, whilst respecting the content of local cultures. This makes the Ecc not only an instructive example of the typical EU policy style, but, more spe-cifically, a sign of the role of cities as centres of governance in direct contact with the supranational level.