Brussels Adopts a New Strategy to Put Culture at the Centre of EU International Relations

The European Commission deems that culture can make the European Union a stronger global actor

June 14th, 2016
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On June 8th the European Commission adopted a “Strategy for international cultural relations”, which aims to encourage cultural cooperation between the EU and partner countries. In doing so, the EU hopes to increase its influence in the realm of ‘soft power’.

The European Union might not exercise ‘hard power’ but it does employ soft power, and intends to use this to become a stronger actor on the world stage. However, this soft power must be more than the normative power that EU is accustomed to, especially following the Copenhagen criteria of 1993. With the new strategy adopted by the European Commission, culture will be at the heart of EU international relations.

Federica Mogherini, EU high Representative and Vice-President, said: “Culture has to be part and parcel of our foreign policy. Culture is a powerful tool to build bridges between people”. Dialogue between cultures can be a means to help prevent conflicts and is an important response to radicalisation; it can also help resolve the issue of assimilation of refugees into member states.

Promoting European culture as a part of EU external policy can also boost European economies and fits with the European cultural specificity that the European Commission has already set in motion.
This is “why cultural diplomacy must be at the core of our relationship with today’s world”, said Federica Mogherini. European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, added: “Culture is therefore crucial in building long-term relationships with countries across the world: it has a great role to play in making the EU a stronger global actor”.

This strategy, adopted by the European Commission, follows the European Parliament’s Preparatory Action “Culture in EU external relations” (2013-14), which highlighted the huge potential for culture in EU external relations.

The strategy will be implemented through the 139 delegations and offices that the EU has around the world. As an initial project, the EU is exploring possibilities of cultural cooperation with Iran in the field of cultural heritage.


Cultural Diplomacy News
Gaspard Fontaine, CD News