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Culture strategy to help drive EU foreign policy

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Culture strategy to help drive EU foreign policy

Mogherini - Federica Mogherini - Photo EU

(BRUSSELS) - EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini adopted a new EU strategy for international cultural relations Wednesday, with a view to making the EU a stronger actor on the global scene.

The aim of the 'Strategy for international cultural relations' is to encourage cultural cooperation between the EU and partner countries and "promoting a global order based on peace, the rule of law, freedom of expression, mutual understanding and respect for fundamental values".

While culture has always been part of foreign policy, Ms Mogherini says it can be a powerful tool to "build bridges between people, notably the young, and reinforce mutual understanding." Its use in fighting radicalisation was particularly important: "As we face common challenges, culture can help all of us, in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia, stand together to fight radicalisation and build an alliance of civilisations against those trying to divide us. This is why cultural diplomacy must be at the core of our relationship with today's world," she said.

Culture can also help respond to global challenges such as the integration of refugees, countering violent radicalisation and the protection of the world's cultural heritage.

The Commission Communication proposes a strategic framework for deeper and more effective international cultural relations as well as a new model for cooperation with Member States, national cultural institutes, private and public operators from the EU and its partner countries, increasing opportunities, creating synergies and maximising socio-economic benefits.

In the cultural and creative sectors, the EU has already funded projects such as creative hubs' networks or the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Cultures+ programme and the programmes to support cultural governance and promote intercultural dialogue.

The Creative Europe programme is also open to neighbourhood and enlargement countries. EU delegations regularly organise cultural diplomacy activities and EU development cooperation has long included culture and heritage in its actions (for example, to restore the Timbuktu manuscripts in Mali).

The Young Arab Voices programme (now enlarged to the EuroMediterranean region), for instance, deepens the dialogue between young leaders and civil society representatives and develop counter-narratives to extremism and violent radicalisation. Another example is EU assistance to protect cultural heritage in Syria, implemented by UNESCO, supporting local stakeholders in monitoring the state of the heritage and in preserving the heritage and countering illicit trafficking.

And the "Community-Led Urban Strategies in Historic Towns" project seeks to stimulate social and economic development by enhancing cultural heritage in nine historic towns in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

The EU's research programme Horizon 2020 supports research on cultural diplomacy and activities on cultural heritage through multinational, interdisciplinary projects. Future programmes are under preparation to support partner countries in different regions; namely fostering cultural and creative industries and promoting intercultural dialogue.

To help the EU implement the strategy and create synergies among all EU stakeholders (EU delegations, national cultural institutes and foundations, private and public enterprises, civil society), a Cultural Diplomacy Platform was set up in February 2016, focusing on strategic countries. Operated by a consortium of Member States' Cultural Institutes and other partners, the Platform will deliver policy advice, facilitate networking, carry out activities with cultural stakeholders and develop training programmes for cultural leadership.

Further information

Communication on international cultural relations

Q&A on the Communication on international cultural relations

Document Actions