Procedure : 2010/2161(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0112/2011

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 12/05/2011 - 9
CRE 12/05/2011 - 9

Votes :

PV 12/05/2011 - 12.10
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


PDF 166kWORD 111k
PE 450.904v05-00 A7-0112/2011

on the cultural dimensions of the EU’s external actions


Committee on Culture and Education

Rapporteur: Marietje Schaake



on the cultural dimensions of the EU’s external actions


The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Article 167 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–   having regard to Article 27(3) of the Treaty on European Union,

–   having regard to Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–   having regard to the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (UNESCO Convention),

–   having regard to the Council Decision of 26 July 2010 establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service (2010/427/EU)(1),

–   having regard to Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2010 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive)(2),

–   having regard to Decision No 1041/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing an audiovisual cooperation programme with professionals from third countries (MEDIA Mundus 2011–2013)(3),

–   having regard to Decision No 1983/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue (2008)(4),

–   having regard to the European Agenda for Culture in a Globalising World (COM(2007)0242),

–   having regard to the Commission report on the implementation of the European Agenda for Culture (COM(2010)0390),

–   having regard to its resolution of 5 May 2010 on Europeana - the next steps(5),

–   having regard to the Council Conclusions of 18 and 19 November 2010 on the Work Plan for Culture 2011 – 2014 (2010/C 325/01)(6),

–   having regard to the Council Conclusions of 20 November 2008 on the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue in the external relations of the Union and its Member States (2008/C 320/04)(7),

–   having regard to the United Nations Millennium Declaration (2000), and in particular the articles under the heading ‘Human rights, democracy and good governance’,

–   having regard to the United Nations resolution entitled ‘Keeping the promise: united to achieve the Millennium Development Goals’ of 22 September 2010,

–   having regard to the United Nations resolution entitled ‘Culture and Development’ of 20 December 2010,

–   having regard to the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000(8), as first amended in Luxembourg on 25 June 2005(9) and as amended for the second time in Ouagadougou on 22 June 2010(10),

–   having regard to the Protocol on Cultural Cooperation annexed to the model Free Trade Agreement,

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education (A7-0112/2011),

A. whereas the EU is a culturally diverse community of values, whose motto – ‘United in diversity’ – finds expression in a variety of ways,

B.  whereas successive EU enlargements, personal mobility in the shared European area, established and new migratory flows and exchanges of all kinds with the rest of the world help foster that cultural diversity,

C. whereas culture has intrinsic value, enriches people’s lives and fosters mutual understanding and respect,

D. whereas the European Agenda for Culture sets the strategic objective of promoting culture as a vital element in the EU's international relations,

E.  whereas culture can and should be a facilitator for development, inclusion, innovation, democracy, human rights, education, conflict prevention and reconciliation, mutual understanding, tolerance and creativity,

F.  whereas the Union and its Member States, citizens, businesses and civil society both in the EU and in third countries are key actors in cultural relations,

G. whereas cultural goods, including sports, contribute to the EU's non-material development and economy, fostering the realisation of a knowledge-based society, through, in particular, cultural industries and tourism,

H. whereas artists act as de facto cultural diplomats exchanging and confronting different aesthetic, political, moral and social values,

I.   whereas new media and communication technologies, such as the internet, can be an instrument for freedom of expression, pluralism, the exchange of information, human rights, development, freedom of assembly, democracy and inclusion and for facilitating access to cultural content and education,

J.   whereas cultural cooperation and cultural dialogue, which are building blocks of cultural diplomacy, can serve as instruments for global peace and stability,

Culture and European values

1.  Underlines the cross-cutting nature and the importance of culture in all aspects of life, and believes that culture needs to be taken into consideration in all EU external policies, in line with Article 167(4) TFEU;

2.  Stresses the need for all EU institutions to recognise more fully the value of culture as a force for tolerance and understanding and as a tool for growth and more inclusive societies;

3.  Calls for cooperation with the regions in each Member State in drawing up, implementing and promoting cultural policies;

4.  Stresses that democratic and fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression, press freedom, freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom from intolerance, hatred and the freedom to access printed and digital information, as well as the privilege to connect and communicate – online and offline – are important preconditions for cultural expression, cultural exchanges and cultural diversity;

5.  Recalls the importance of the cultural cooperation protocols and their added value in bilateral agreements on development and trade; urges the Commission to present its strategy on future cultural cooperation protocols and to consult Parliament and civil society on this strategy;

6.  Reiterates that culture plays a role in bilateral agreements on development and trade, and through measures such as the European instruments for Development Cooperation, for Stability, for Democracy and Human Rights and for Pre-Accession, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the Eastern Partnership, the Union for the Mediterranean and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which all allocate resources to cultural programmes;

7.  Emphasises that transatlantic cooperation and cooperation with neighbouring European states is important to advance joint interests and common values;

8.  Values public-private cooperation with a strong role for civil society, including NGOs and European cultural networks, in addressing the cultural aspects of the EU's external relations;

EU programmes

9.  Is concerned at the fragmentation of external EU cultural policy and projects, which is hampering the strategic and efficient use of cultural resources and the development of a visible common EU strategy on the cultural aspects of the EU's external relations;

10. Urges the streamlining of internal operations in the Commission in the various DGs which focus on external relations (foreign policy, enlargement, trade, development), education and culture and the digital agenda;

11. States that cultural and educational exchanges can potentially strengthen civil society, foster democratisation and good governance, encourage the development of skills, promote human rights and fundamental freedoms and provide building blocks for lasting cooperation;

12. Supports the increasing involvement of third countries in EU cultural, mobility, youth, education and training programmes, and calls for access to these programmes to be facilitated for (young) people from third countries, such as European neighbouring countries;

13. Calls for coherent strategies to foster youth mobility and the mobility of cultural professionals, artists and creators, cultural and educational development (including media and ICT literacy), and access to artistic expression in all its forms; encourages, therefore, synergies between cultural, sports, education, media, multilingualism and youth programmes;

14. Encourages cooperation with practitioners, mediator organisations and civil society, in both Member States and third countries, in drawing up and implementing external cultural policies and in promoting cultural events and exchanges which improve mutual understanding whilst taking due account of European cultural and linguistic diversity;

15. Calls for the creation of a cultural visa for third-country nationals, artists and other professionals in the cultural field, along the lines of the existing Scientific Visa Programme in force since 2005; also asks the Commission to propose a short-term visa initiative with the aim of eliminating obstacles to mobility in the cultural sector;

Media and new information technologies

16. Stresses the importance of the EU taking action throughout the world to promote respect for freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom of access to audiovisual media and new information technologies, in a manner consistent with copyright rules;

17. Condemns the fact that repressive regimes increasingly censor and monitor the internet, and urges the Commission and the Member States to promote internet freedom globally;

18. Reaffirms the principle of net neutrality, which is designed to ensure that the internet remains a free and open technology, fostering democratic communication;

19. Emphasises the internet’s role as a tool for promoting European culture, and calls on the Member States to further develop investment in broadband internet throughout the EU;

20. Emphasises the importance of the new media and, above all, of the internet as free, easily accessible and user-friendly communications and information platforms which should be actively used, inside and outside the EU, in the context of intercultural dialogue; in addition, stresses the importance of the new media in providing access to cultural goods and content and in making Europe's cultural heritage and history better known, inside and outside the EU, as demonstrated by key projects such as Europeana;

21. Calls on the Commission to create a central internet portal which both provides information on existing EU support programmes in the external relations sphere which have a cultural component and on the planning and organisation of cultural events of pan-European significance by the EU’s foreign representations and acts as a central information platform to facilitate networking between cultural professionals, institutions and civil society, and which at the same time contains links to other EU-sponsored events, such as Europeana;

Cultural diplomacy and cultural cooperation

22. Emphasises the importance of cultural diplomacy and cultural cooperation in advancing and communicating throughout the world the EU’s and the Member States’ interests and the values that make up European culture; stresses the need for the EU to act as a (world) player with a global perspective and global responsibility;

23. Argues that the EU's external actions should focus primarily on promoting peace and reconciliation, human rights, international trade and economic development, without neglecting the cultural aspects of diplomacy;

24. Stresses the need to devise effective strategies for intercultural negotiations, and considers that a multicultural approach to this task may facilitate the conclusion of beneficial agreements, putting the EU and third-country partners on an equal footing;

25. Urges that one person in each EU representation overseas should be responsible for the coordination of cultural relations and interaction between the EU and third countries and for the promotion of European culture, in close cooperation with cultural actors and network-based organisations such as EUNIC;

26. Emphasises the need to adopt a comprehensive approach to cultural mediation and cultural exchange and the role of culture in fostering democratisation, human rights, conflict prevention and peace-building;

27. Encourages the launch of policy dialogues on culture, such as that recently initiated between the EU and India, in order to strengthen people-to-people contacts;

28. Encourages the setting of priorities directly linked to the cultural dimension within the EIDHR, including strengthening the rule of law, conflict management and prevention, civil society cooperation and the role of new technologies as regards freedom of expression, democratic participation and human rights;

EU external relations and European External Action Service (EEAS)

29. Expects the draft organisational chart of the EEAS to include positions tailored to cultural aspects, and suggests that a coordination unit be established for this purpose;

30. Calls on the EEAS and the Commission to coordinate the strategic deployment of the cultural aspects of external policy, incorporating culture consistently and systematically into the EU’s external relations and seeking complementarity with the Member States' external cultural policies;

31. Calls for EEAS staff to be provided with appropriate training and further training in the cultural and digital aspects of external policy, so that they can provide coordination in this area for EU delegations, for joint European training possibilities to be offered to national experts and staff from cultural institutes, and for training facilities to be thrown open for global participation;

32. Calls for the inclusion of a DG Cultural and Digital Diplomacy in the organisation of the EEAS;

33. Encourages the EEAS, when developing its resources and competences in the cultural sphere, to cooperate with networks such as EUNIC in order to draw on their experience as independent links between the Member States and cultural mediation organisations and create and exploit synergies;

34. Encourages the EEAS to take account of the EU’s recently established European Heritage Label as a tool to be used in relations with third countries with a view to improving knowledge and the dissemination of the culture and history of the European peoples;

35. Calls on the Commission to establish an interinstitutional taskforce for culture in the context of the EU’s external relations in order to develop and widen coordination, streamlining, strategies and the sharing of best practices and, in that connection, to take account of the Council of Europe’s activities and initiatives and to report to Parliament on the taskforce's work;

36. Proposes that the Commission should submit to Parliament regular reports on the implementation of this resolution on the role of culture in the EU’s external relations;

37. Proposes the creation of specific information systems to support the mobility of artists and other professionals in the cultural field, as envisaged by the study entitled ‘Information systems to support the mobility of artists and other professionals in the culture field: a feasibility study’(11);

38. Urges the Commission to propose and adopt in 2011 a Green Paper on a strategy on culture and cultural cooperation in the EU's external actions, to be followed by a communication;

39. Encourages concrete steps to foster capacity-building through the involvement of civil society and the funding of independent initiatives;

UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

40. Calls on the EEAS to encourage third countries to develop policies on culture and systematically to call on third countries to ratify and implement the UNESCO Convention;

41. Reminds the Member States of the importance of the commitments they have given in ratifying the UNESCO Convention, since the protection of cultural diversity in the world requires an informed and balanced policy in the digital sphere;

42. Calls on the Commission to take proper account of the dual nature of cultural goods and services when negotiating bilateral and multilateral trade agreements and concluding cultural protocols and to grant preferential treatment to developing countries, in accordance with Article 16 of the UNESCO Convention;

43. Welcomes the recent signing of an agreement between the EU and UNESCO on an EUR 1 million Expert Facility to support governance in the cultural sector and enable the governments of developing countries to take advantage of experts' knowledge in devising effective and sustainable cultural policies;

44. Encourages the Member States and the Commission to step up their cooperation efforts in order to further improve national legal frameworks and policies for the protection and preservation of cultural heritage and cultural assets, in accordance with national legislation and international legal frameworks, including measures to combat illegal trafficking in cultural assets and intellectual property; encourages them to prevent the unlawful appropriation of cultural heritage and the products of cultural activity, whilst at the same time recognising the importance of copyright and intellectual property in maintaining the livelihood of those involved in cultural creation;

45. Calls for a coherent EU strategy for the international promotion of European cultural activities and programmes based on the protection of diversity and the dual nature of cultural goods and activities, which covers, inter alia, the more effective coordination of existing EU external policy programmes with cultural components and their implementation in agreements with third countries, and consistency with the cultural compatibility clauses included in the Treaties, the subsidiarity principle and the UNESCO Convention;

46. Calls for a coherent strategy for the protection and promotion of cultural and natural heritage, both tangible and intangible, and international cooperation in conflict areas, for example through Blue Shield, which gives culture a role in preventing conflicts and restoring peace;

47. Calls for personnel being sent to conflict and post-conflict areas to be given training in the cultural aspects of action to preserve heritage and promote reconciliation, democracy and human rights;

48. Wishes to ensure that, in the framework of existing financial instruments, operational programmes are focused on simplification, efficiency and the coordination of EU policies;

49. Encourages the promotion of the role of culture within the EIDHR, in its work on strengthening the rule of law, conflict management and prevention, civil society cooperation and the role of new technologies as regards freedom of expression, democratic participation and human rights;

50. Recognises that all human rights need to be respected, as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and therefore recognises the link between cultural rights, diversity and human rights and objects to the use of cultural arguments to justify human rights violations;

51. Proposes to include a chapter on culture in the Annual Review on Human Rights and to mainstream culture in the work of interparliamentary delegations;

52. Urges that the development of cultural activities should not be used as an argument for restricting the free movement of cultural professionals between the EU and third countries;

53. Encourages the establishment of cultural relations with countries with which no other partnerships exist, as a stepping stone towards the development of further relations;


o   o

54. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.


OJ L 201, 3.8.2010, p. 30.


OJ L 95, 15.4.2010, p. 1.


OJ L 288, 4.11.2009, p. 10.


OJ L 412, 30.12.2006, p. 44.


OJ C 81 E, 15.3.2011, p. 16.


OJ C 325, 2.12.2010, p. 1.


OJ C 320, 16.12.2008, p. 10.


OJ L 317, 15.12.2000, p. 3.


OJ L 209, 11.8.2005, p. 27.


OJ L 287, 4.11.2010, p. 3.


DG Education and Culture of the European Commission, March 2009.


Rock and roll, culturally speaking, was a decisive element in loosening up communist societies and bringing them closer to a world of freedom.

(Andras Simonyi was Ambassador of Hungary to the United States from 2002 to 2007 born in Budapest in 1952.)

Europe is a community of freedom, responsibilities and democratic values. Culture, identity, values and the EU’s position on the global stage are intertwined. European interests are served when cultural aspects are strategically devised through cooperation and partnership, both through cultural programs, as well as when cultural aspects are an integral part of economic, foreign and security and development policies.

Through the sharing of literature, film, music and heritage, doors of understanding are opened and bridges between people are built. European identity, in all its diversity, as well as European values are manifested through these cultural expressions. Additionally the EU has important experiences to share when it comes to overcoming conflict and building stability through shared interest and mutual understanding.

Since the entering into force of the Lisbon treaty, the EU is developing a joint foreign and security policy executed by the European External Action Service under the leadership of High Representative Catherine Ashton. In the development of the EEAS, it is important to explore and anchor the role culture has and should have in the EU’s external actions. Mainstreaming culture can lead to mutual understanding, peaceful cooperation and stability, as well as to economic benefits.

Cultural diplomacy is a cornerstone for building trust and long lasting relations with citizens in third countries. Culture should be a vital and horizontally integrated element among the broad spectrum of external policies which make up the EU’s foreign policy: from the EU’s trade relations to its enlargement and neighbourhood policy, to its development cooperation policy and its common foreign and security policy. Culture equally has economic value: Europe’s cultural industries contribute to European entrepreneurship, innovation and business and the EU’s diverse cultural landscape makes it the most attractive global tourist destination in the world. A vibrant cultural climate makes living in the EU attractive for businesses and people alike.

A coherent, coordinated EU strategy on culture in the EU’s external actions does not currently exist and needs to be developed. It is not a luxury but a necessity to sustain and foster Europe’s attractiveness in a globally connected and competitive environment.

Cultural aspects of the EU

Culture has intrinsic value in our liberal democracies: it enriches people’s lives. The EU is known for its cultural diversity, and at the same time is a community of values which apply equally to each citizen. These European values, such as respect for human rights, democracy and fundamental freedoms are also represented by our cultural products. These values underpin and represent ‘European culture’, amounting to more than the sum of Member States’ own individual cultures. Cultural diversity, as manifested in European values, strives to ensure the widest range of choice and freedom for the individual.

Contact between people, offline or online, fosters exchanges of best practices and knowledge, and develops people’s international skills, elements which are ever more needed in our increasingly globalized world. Knowledge and international skills are crucial to education and employment as indicated in the EU 2020 strategy. Multilingualism, e-skills and cultural awareness are much needed competencies to seize opportunities and develop talent in a global job market. But culture can also be considered an ingredient which helps to foster democratization, freedom of expression, inclusion, development, education, reconciliation and more. Cultural diplomacy, in the form of a constructive intercultural interaction, is an instrument for global peace and stability. In most constitutions of EU Member States, the development of international law is included. International law is based on European values.

The wide variety of aspects of cultural relations vis-à-vis third countries has led to fragmentation of policies, which needs to change to a more coordinated and coherent EU strategy. The rapporteur has chosen to emphasize the organisational and policy frameworks that are needed for the optimal coordination of culture in the EU’s external actions. She believes the filling in of content should not be governed and regulated from the top down too much. The report provides concrete suggestions for the inclusion of civil society, artists, educators, students and entrepreneurs in shaping the content of cultural relations. It also underlines the necessity of mainstreaming and streamlining culture in the EU’s external actions within the EU institutions.

Global player

European citizens are best able to benefit if the EU acts as a global player and a leader on the global stage. That requires funds being used more efficiently and for Europe’s competitive position for tourists, talent, artists, business and students to be strategically considered. European interests are best served when we speak with one voice. The competition will be ever fiercer, with China having already established 300 Confucius Centres (1 000 planned by 2020) to practice cultural diplomacy, and the rise of emerging powers such as India. The United States has historically had a strong cultural presence in the world, which is now slightly declining but remains powerful. We need bold and ambitious policies now.

The EU has a number of best practices on the Member State level. France, for example, is among the highest spenders per capita when it comes to positioning itself and its language in the rest of the world through the Alliance Française. The United Kingdom has chosen a model where the British Council takes quite an independent role from government in developing cultural and educational policies, as well as exchanges.

Need for a strategy

Many programs already exist, and we do not have to reinvent the wheel but we can learn from each other. Coordination will help to ensure a more effective use of our resources, which is most welcome in a time of budget cuts, most notably in the cultural sectors. The network of European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) is expected to be an important partner whose members have long-lasting experiences not only with field work but also in organising cultural work at arms-length distance from governments, crucial in this sector. Coordination can exist side by side with cultural diplomacy at the Member State level. Many third countries, however, explicitly seek to address the European Union, not only the different Member States.

Fragmentation and diffusion is seen among and between Member States, but also between different departments and institutions within the EU. This fragmentation without a common strategy hampers the full and efficient use of cultural resources and budgets.

This resolution calls for an assessment of existing programs, as well as a green paper and a communication from the Commission outlining concrete policies for the role of culture in the EU’s external actions. The Commission is advised to increase its internal streamlining between different DGs, while taking clear responsibilities. The suggestion to identify one contact person per representation of the EU in third countries is meant to help disseminate information, coordinate the relations between civil society actors, and to ensure efficiency.

New media

New technologies play an ever larger role in both culture and in international relations. People depend on internet for access to information, and can only express themselves freely when this information and their communications are not censored. The right to cultural development and other fundamental rights is increasingly facilitated by new technologies.

The frontier of the struggle for human rights is moving online. Bloggers are imprisoned and taboos are broken, all because of the internet. Moreover, new technologies provide tremendous opportunities for civic participation, freedom of expression and access to information. With the World Wide Web connecting people globally, the EU needs to act as a global player and develop concrete policies to foster and protect internet freedom. Repressive regimes understand all too well how new media can be used to enhance freedoms, and seek to repress people through the use of these same technologies.

Access to cultural content happens through new media as well. The opportunities for global connectivity around European cultural goods and content should be celebrated and facilitated, for example, through Europeana, or websites of museums and festivals, and the online music and entertainment industry.

The existence of cultural programs and the guarantees of fundamental rights need to be enforced through the development of EU policy on internet freedom, and the inclusion of digital diplomacy in cultural diplomacy.

The economic potential of the EU as a global digital player is best served by a reform of Intellectual Property Rights laws and the completion of the European digital market. Only then we can ensure that the wealth of our (digitized) cultural diversity is accessible and marketable across the globe.

Next steps

Many cultural relations develop entirely free of government planning or regulation. This organically developing network of individuals should be facilitated. For that we need policies.

And last but not least, the European Institutions can contribute a great deal to making the European political culture and decision making process more accessible to citizens across the world. Through open data, transparency and access to information are further developed.

The foundations for policies are already laid down in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and by the ratification of the UNESCO Convention, which require the mainstreaming of culture in all policies of the Union. Now it comes down to practical implication of these agreements. In the draft organisation chart of the External Action Service, there are no positions foreseen for cultural aspects yet. This report calls on the EEAS to consider cultural aspects an overarching policy objective and provide for the appropriate training of EEAS staff with regard to cultural and digital aspects.

For the young generation of Europeans a coherent strategy for the mobility of young people to increase their cultural and educational development – including media and ICT literacy – and their access to artistic expressions in all its diversity is needed.

The existing cultural elements in programs such as the European Instrument on Democracy and Human Rights need to be focused and prioritized, such as to strengthen the rule of law, develop cultural diplomacy as an instrument of conflict management and prevention, create mechanisms for civil society cooperation, dialogue and exchange, and to include the role of new technologies regarding freedom of expression, democratic participation and human rights.

The European Parliament should commit itself to including culture in the work of its delegations with other parliaments across the globe, and will keep a close watch on the progress and concrete measures taken to devise a coordinated and coherent EU strategy on culture in external relations. A proposed annual report should ensure accountability and continuity. Additionally, the Annual Human Rights Report should focus on culture explicitly and specifically.

The development of ´brand Europe´ in a global competition for talent, tourism, and values needs to be based on collaboration; this report is the kick-off for a long lasting and fruitful joint effort to use as many allies as possible to achieve this.


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Maria Badia i Cutchet, Zoltán Bagó, Malika Benarab-Attou, Lothar Bisky, Piotr Borys, Jean-Marie Cavada, Silvia Costa, Santiago Fisas Ayxela, Mary Honeyball, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Morten Løkkegaard, Emma McClarkin, Marek Henryk Migalski, Doris Pack, Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid, Marietje Schaake, Timo Soini, Emil Stoyanov, Hannu Takkula, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Sabine Verheyen, Milan Zver

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Nessa Childers, Oriol Junqueras Vies, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, Iosif Matula, Francisco José Millán Mon, Monika Smolková

Legal notice - Privacy policy