On June 20-21, the Various Interests' Group organised a conference entitled: 'A hope for Europe! Culture, cities and new narratives', organised in partnership with Bozar and the Education and Culture Committee of the European Parliament.
The conference welcomed over 200 participants and emphasized the enormous potential culture has for becoming a unifying and mobilising instrument in Europe. At a time when extremism is increasing unabated, at a time when our citizens are questioning their common identity more than ever since 1945, now is the moment to place Culture and cultural policies at the heart of the European political agenda, to invest in the sector and to support the plethora of actors engaged in cultural governance. Now is the time to include Culture as a tool of soft power in Europe's External Relations and to promote Culture as the 4th Pillar of Sustainable Development.
Within this context, as study was commissioned by Group III and presented during this conference. At the heart of this study are the following questions: can Culture help us to overcome the systemic, political and identity crises which are currently shaking the European Union? What role can Culture and Cities play in strengthening social and territorial cohesion, in engaging in dialogue and building trust in our complex societies? Can Culture bring Hope, New Narratives and a second Renaissance to Europe?
As Luca Jahier, President of Group III concluded, we need a new and powerful narrative for Europe, capable of reshaping our future. Culture can help create the hope that we need for our future, for sustainable development and progress on our continent, for a narrative which is convincing and inspiring to all of us!