In light of destabilisation and crisis in the world, the European Union has to consider new ways of approaching diplomacy in order to continue to promote peace, stability and the well-being of their people.
This has been recognised through a number of resolutions (e.g. 2010/2161(INI)) and actions (e.g. preparatory action for Culture in External relations concluding with study results in 2014). The latest development was the joint communication Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations by the European Commission (EC) and the High Representative on 8 June 2016. It aims at encouraging cultural cooperation between the EU and its partner countries; and promoting a global order based on peace, the rule of law, freedom of expression, intercultural and interreligious dialogue, mutual understanding and respect for fundamental values.
The joint Communication aided the preparation of a report on the subject by the European Parliament, under the umbrella of the CULT (Culture and Education) and AFET (Foreign Affairs) Committees.
Four strands make up the report that is divided into its objectives, governance and tools, a "People to people approach" and "The EU global strategy".
Among other things, the report:
- asks to promote cultural rights as an integral part of the fundamental human rights; and to consider culture for its intrinsic value as a fourth stand-alone and transversal pillar of the sustainable development together with social, economic and environmental dimensions.
Governance and Tools:
- calls for the EU and Member States to join their forces. e.g. by launching actions together, such as exhibitions, and festivals, particularly for countries with no cultural representations abroad
- recommends to dedicate the appropriate human and financial resources to EEAS and the Commission, as well as to advocate that international cultural relations becomes a subject for education, training and research
- calls for a clear framing of the role of Member States cultural institutes, through EUNIC, and other networks and advocates an inclusive and equal approach towards all stakeholders.
- asks to include culture in all existing and future cooperation bilateral and multilateral agreements with adequate budgets, and to strengthen the international dimension particularly in Erasmus, Creative Europe and Horizon2020.
People to People Approach
- highlights the importance of the involvement, consultation with and support of civil society and a shift from a top-down show-casing approach to a people-to-people (P2P) approach
- calls for involving citizens, stakeholders, networks, civil society and NGOs, in order to improve their access to programmes and funding.
- emphasises that the arts are a powerful tool to bring this about.
- reminds that EU activities in the field of culture should be more visible and better disseminated internationally.
In the report
- the important link to mutual understanding through intercultural and interreligious dialogue is highlighted, leading to an acknowledgment, understanding and tolerance of other cultures on the basis of a binding global ethic founded on universal values and mutual respect across cultural boundaries (UNESCO).
- the EU is asked to closely collaborate with all those states that share its goals and values and are prepared to act in their support.
The complete report and voting distribution can be viewed here.
Published by the European Parliament on 13 June 2017.