Cultural diplomacy as a vector of EU external relations. New partnerships and role of CSO

EESC opinion: Cultural diplomacy as a vector of EU external relations. New partnerships and role of CSO

Key points

    The EESC:

  • considers that culture is inclusive. It is a form of capital that enables us to illuminate both our path in Europe and the image we project across the world. At a time when war has returned to the European continent, with devastating destruction, tearing apart human lives and places, we need cultural relations to be more than ever a tool for dialogue, peace and the future. Making it a key and strategic vehicle of the European Union's foreign policy, as repeatedly called for in many documents and important initiatives over the last 17 years, must now become a real priority.
  • stresses that, on the basis of the European Commission's 2016 communication, the decisions and guidelines of the Council and the recommendations of the European Parliament, it is now time to adopt a fully-fledged multiannual strategic action plan which, under the coordination of the EU External Action Service, will create real synergy with the different policies and structures of the European Commission and the Member States, and provide a platform for effective interconnection with wider entities in terms of both the territorial authorities involved and the many private and institutional players, which are already productively engaged. A plan backed up by the necessary funding.
  • considers that action needs to be stepped up immediately to protect, restore and rebuild heritage in areas hit by natural disasters, crises and conflicts, increasing the training of local players and the capacity-building of local institutions and civil society organisations. More ambitious measures should be undertaken in the field of the creative industries. Significant pilot projects should be launched in areas such as the Western Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, Africa and Ukraine.
  • recommends a mapping exercise, covering the wide range of actions and initiatives already in place led by the European institutions and organisations, individual States, and the many civil society organisations in the Member States, as well as those established by the various international partnerships, with a view to creating an EU platform for international cultural relations.
  • recommends a creation of a significant dedicated structure within the EEAS, centred around an "EU Special Envoy for Cultural Relations", which would develop an overall political direction, be equipped with the necessary budget and be capable of networking with the Member States and different organisations, as well as providing instruments and small-scale financial allocations to the EU delegations, for developing initiatives in their respective countries.

Read “Cultural diplomacy, moving from processes to substance”