Cultural relations should have a more prominent role in EU foreign policy, as it helps to prevent conflicts and promotes EU values, said committee MEPs on Tuesday.
MEPs on the Foreign Affairs and Culture Committees stress that culture should become an essential part of EU political dialogue with third countries, as it is a powerful bridge between people of different ethnic, religious and social background, and reinforces intercultural and interreligious dialogue. It also strengthens civil society, people-to-people contacts, reinforces democratisation, helps to prevent radicalization, conflicts and disseminate EU values, they add.
They note that young people should be one of the main target groups, to be reached out by music, film, street arts, social media and digital platforms channels.
MEPs welcome joint Commission’s and High Representative’s communication “Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations” presented in 2016, but criticize it for being too vague on concrete objectives, target groups and initiatives.
Therefore they recommend:
- to develop an effective EU strategy for international cultural relations, accompanied by an annual action plan;
- to provide a separate EU budget line to support international cultural relations and launch an EU programme on international mobility and exchange for young cultural professionals and artists;
- to include culture in all existing and future EU agreements with third countries;
- to create a Cultural Visa Programme, along the lines of the existing Scientific Visa Programme, for third-country nationals, artists and other professionals in the cultural field;
- to appoint a “focal point” in each EU delegation to liaise with member state’s cultural institutes, but also local civil society and actors.
Foreign affairs committee rapporteur Elmar Brok (EPP, DE) said: „The report calls for cultural diplomacy which helps to improve our relations with other countries and people. It allows us to work with different communities and is based on the principles of mutual respect, the EU and Member States’ common cultural roots and heritages, and appreciates the UN Charter of Human Rights, which values originate from Europe.“
Culture and education committee rapporteur Silvia Costa (S&D, IT) said: “We need a new strategy to allow the culture to be a pillar of sustainable development, to promote dialogue, human rights and peace, but also to work with third countries to safeguard a cultural heritage.”
The resolution on an EU strategy for international cultural relations was approved by 62 votes to 13, with 4 abstention. The full House is to vote on it at the July plenary session in Strasbourg.