European Union External Action

Mogherini and Commission aim to put culture at the heart of EU international relations

High Representative Federica Mogherini and the European Commission today presented a new 'Strategy for international cultural relations', which aims to encourage cultural cooperation between the EU and its partner countries and promote a global order based on peace, the rule of law, freedom of expression, mutual understanding and respect for fundamental values.

“Culture has to be part and parcel of our foreign policy,” Mogherini said. “Culture is a powerful tool to build bridges between people, notably the youth, and reinforce mutual understanding. It can also be an engine for economic and social development. And as we face common challenges, culture can help all of us, in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia, stand together to fight radicalisation, and build an alliance of civilisations against those trying to divide us. This is why cultural diplomacy must be more and more at the core of our relationship with today's world."

Culture can play an important role in the EU's foreign policy. Cultural cooperation counters stereotypes and prejudice by nurturing dialogue, open-mindedness, dignity and mutual respect. Inter-cultural dialogue can help prevent conflicts and foster reconciliation within and between countries. Culture can help respond to global challenges such as the integration of refugees, countering violent radicalisation and the protection of the world's cultural heritage. Culture can also be a tool to deliver important social and economic benefits both within and outside the EU. 
Today's Communication proposes a strategic framework for deeper and more effective international cultural relations as well as a new model for cooperation with Member States, national cultural institutes, private and public operators from the EU and its partner countries, increasing opportunities, creating synergies and maximising socio-economic benefits.

Culture is becoming increasingly important to economic growth, not only in its traditional forms, but particularly through cultural and creative industries, SMEs and tourism. Culture plays an important role also at municipal level. Engaging citizens, state actors and cultural operators alike, is a major resource for strengthening municipalities and communities and for developing market opportunities.

Today’s proposal is in line with the ninth priority outlined by European Commission President Juncker in his 2014 Political Guidelines and reflecting the ambition of the EU's forthcoming Global Strategy being prepared by the High Representative. The Commission has also announced that it will propose to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to organise a European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018.

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