Cultural Diplomacy News (CDN)
Alojz Peterle (Member of European Parliament)

06.12.2011 - Interview conducted by Maja Kranjc

Q: Do you think cultural diplomacy can be used as a tool to strengthen the ties between the EU-member states not that the EU has been facing the biggest crisis since it was established? You mentioned that we are facing a cultural crisis….

I think that cultural diplomacy is very important and is an essential part of diplomacy. I don´t see its values only in technical terms. It should also use cultural aspect in more political terms. Cultural diplomacy has a lot of cultural dimensions, but I am interested in politics as an expression of culture. In traditional terms, cultural diplomacy has a large field of action, has a lot to do. I see that, within the EU, the knowledge about each other and about the others is important. We could do much more in order to reach each other with better information. I think the way to a better understanding is through culture or cultural intensivity. You know somebody when you know which culture he comes from.

Q: A question about the political culture in Slovenia—do you think the features of political culture in Slovenia asquired after Slovenia became independent can be compared to the European democratic political culture?

The accent on culture has been always strong in Slovenia even before we established our independent state. And for me the fact how we reached our independence was also a part of our culture because we reached the importance democratically, peacefully, legally, without using force, tricks, etc. The expression of the cultural aspect in our politics was also seen internally. Everything that we were doing was to the benefit of the nation, including negotiating the membership within the EU. In the field of culture or human rights, we had to accept and share them as soon as possible. During our presidency Slovenia show its cultural potential. I spoke about the sensitivity to the others, we succeeded because we were attentive to details and minor issues.

Q: Slovenia does not have a strategy in order to promote its interests in international relations. Also, Slovenia does not have any cultural institutes as other European countries do. Do you think we need that?

It was not only my idea when I was a foreign minister. I think culture is still an  underestimated source in Slovenian diplomacy. I wouldn´t like to speak about the Lipizans, etc. I think we need some cultural attachés. I think this could be an export product of Slovenia. Not only pictures and so on, but also sense for minorities, etc. Here we could do much more.