Make culture count: a joined-up strategic approach to international cultural relations
EUNIC presented a response paper to Council Conclusions on international cultural relations at Cultural Affairs Committee of the Council of the European Union on 18 February 2020.
EUNIC has responded to the Council Conclusions on an EU strategic approach to international cultural relations of 8 April 2019 which are available here.
On 18 February, EUNIC Director Gitte Zschoch presented the main points of the response paper to the Cultural Affairs Committee of the Council.
EUNIC considers the Council Conclusions as a milestone in the European engagement and efforts in international cultural relations and recognises the hard work done by all Council presidencies involved in this process. The Conclusions do not ask for new lines of work to be picked up, but rather reconfirm work that has been done in cultural relations for some time and at the same time invite to enhance and improve joint projects.
The response paper particularly welcomes:
• the fact that the Conclusions call for a more aligned and joint approach between all actors in the field;
• the focus on the principles of cultural relations, such as mutual learning, co-creation, trust and understanding, full inclusion of local stakeholders at all levels and a decentralised approach;
• the utmost importance attributed to core values of the cultural sector, such as cultural diversity, artistic freedom and independence.
However, continuous efforts are needed to make cultural relations count in EU foreign policy. European collaboration on culture belongs on the table of internal debates in all Member States, in order to become a regular and important part of our strategies and work, complementary to national mandates. Resources, in particular funding, need to be pooled by all stakeholders in order to make working together truly possible. Coordination between all stakeholders – EU services, EUNIC members, Member States – needs to be improved to achieve a joint approach. Lastly, culture should be featured as a cross-cutting item in the future Multi-annual Financial Framework and be included as a topic on the conference on the Future of Europe.
EUNIC therefore welcomes the Council to keep all actors in the field accountable, by continuously putting the topic on the agenda.
With the response paper, EUNIC highlights its role as implementing partner of European external cultural relations. All actors in the field tare encouraged to work together more closely in a coordinated fashion, to continue to attribute importance to a joint, European approach while ensuring adequate financial backing for increased activity in cultural relations.