New European Union Strategy for International Cultural Relations

The European Commission announces a New Strategic Vision for European International Cultural Relations

June 14th, 2016
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On 8th June 2016 the European Commission announced a new strategic directive for international relations. This is the first strategic European approach for international relations management concerning culture and the importance of cultural relations in international affairs.

The new directive was developed in response to, and as a result of, the continual challenges faced by EU member states today. The newly published Communique affirms that cultural relations offer a unique opportunity for improving relations among EU partner countries. Furthermore, culture is seen as an important resource in tackling political and social challenges, such as the integration of refugees and the spread of violent radicalisation.

The protection of cultural heritage can also be enhanced with this new focus on cultural relations and cultural diplomacy. The importance and potential of the cultural/creative sectors and the economic benefits of cultural exchanges are included in the directive too, for they contribute to inclusive growth and job creation in the EU and its partner countries.

The High Representative and the European Commission were called upon by a number of EU member states to develop a strategic vision that advances international cultural relations. The global context reinforces the need for the development of an EU strategy only stronger. The recently launched strategy for international cultural relations, as a result, will focus on the following three main objectives:
Firstly, the commission sees the way forward in supporting culture as an engine for social and economic development. Culture is a central element in new economies driven by creativity, innovation, digital dimension and access to knowledge. Cultural and creative industries furthermore represent around 3% of global GDP and 30 million jobs.

The second aim is the promotion of intercultural dialogue for peaceful inter-community relations. The Commission finds that intercultural dialogues are key in promoting the building of fair, peaceful and inclusive societies as well as the value of cultural diversity and respect for human rights.

The third aim is the reinforcement of cooperation on cultural heritage as rehabilitating and promoting cultural heritage attracts tourism and boosts economic growth.

For the implementation of the strategy, the European Union relies upon its 139 delegations and offices operating around the world, as well as upon each member state. Furthermore, all relevant partners will be brought into the newly developed action scheme, in order to secure the implementation of the strategy and its effective functioning.


Cultural Diplomacy News
Nora Kelemen, CD News