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European agenda for culture in a globalising world
The Commission proposes a new European agenda for culture, which attempts to respond to the challenges of globalisation. This new strategy aims to intensify cultural cooperation in the European Union (EU), focusing on a series of concrete proposals to achieve a set of common objectives.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 10 May 2007 on a European agenda for culture in a globalizing world [COM(2007) 242 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The cultural sector plays a key role in terms of its numerous social, economic and political implications. Consequently, culture has a fundamental part in the process of European integration.
On the basis of these considerations, and in light of the results of an online consultation of stakeholders in the cultural sector, the Commission proposes a new European agenda for culture that focuses on a limited number of objectives. To work towards these objectives, the Commission also suggests new mechanisms for cooperation with and among European Union (EU) countries, other levels of governance and civil society.
The objectives of the new European agenda for culture are built around three priorities:
Cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue
Openness and exchanges between different cultures should be promoted. Accordingly, the new agenda for culture seeks to encourage:
- mobility of artists and workers in the cultural sector and the circulation of all forms of artistic expression;
- strengthening intercultural competences and intercultural dialogue, by developing capacities included among the key competences for lifelong learning, such as cultural awareness and expression, and communication in foreign languages.
Stimulating creativity within the framework of the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs
Cultural industries contribute to the dynamism of the European economy and to EU competitiveness. By way of example, the cultural sector employs nearly five million people in the EU. In this respect, the Commission proposes the following objectives:
- promoting creativity in education and incorporating this dimension into the lifelong learning measures;
- strengthening the organisational capacities of the cultural sector, by focusing on entrepreneurship and the training of the cultural sector in managerial competences (innovative sources of financing, European dimension of commercial activities, etc.);
- developing effective partnerships between the cultural sector and other sectors (ICTs, research, tourism, social partners, etc.) to reinforce the impact of investments in culture.
Culture as a vital element in international relations
In line with the Unesco Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, ratified by the EU and most of its countries, the new agenda for culture proposes to reinforce the cultural dimension as a vital element of EU external relations. This priority is accompanied by a number of measures to:
- pursue political dialogue in the field of culture and promote cultural exchanges between the EU and non-EU countries;
- promote access to global markets for cultural goods and services from developing countries through agreements that grant preferential treatment or trade-related assistance measures;
- build on external relations to set up financial and technical support (preservation of cultural heritage, promotion of cultural activities across the world);
- ensure that all projects funded by the EU take account of local culture;
- step up EU involvement in the work of international organisations active in the field of culture and in the United Nations ‘Alliance of Civilisations’ process.
The Commission seeks to establish a structured dialogue with the cultural sector to achieve these objectives. This dialogue would include all stakeholders, from artists and creators to cultural industries. To this end, the Commission recommends:
- identifying all actors in the cultural sector;
- organising a "Cultural Forum" that brings together all these stakeholders;
- representing at European level the views of stakeholders in this sector;
- developing social dialogue for social partners in the cultural sector;
- bringing a cultural dimension to European public debates by using, in particular, the permanent representations of the Commission.
This new strategy for culture and all the measures proposed depend on closer cooperation between the EU and its countries through the open method of coordination (OMC) mechanism. It also aims to develop a structured dialogue with the cultural sector.
The new European agenda for culture is complemented by other actions related to the cultural sector, such as the 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue.
- European Commission Directorate-General for Education and Culture website on the European agenda for culture