Culture as fundamental role in EU diplomacy

EU programme on exchange for young artists, special “cultural” visa to access the EU and more intercultural dialogue with third countries could be of benefit for EU foreign policy, say MEPs
MEPs stress that culture should become an essential part of EU political dialogue with non-EU countries, as it is a powerful bridge between people, helps to strengthen civil society, to prevent radicalisation and conflicts, and disseminate EU values.

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 also 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.

Parliament’s rapporteur Elmar Brok (EPP, DE) said: ”Culture is a vehicle and a vector of EU’s attractiveness. We could act as an example for other parts of the world how we, in Europe, bridge borders and use culture as a source of common richness rather than a source of division.”

Rapporteur Silvia Costa (S&D, IT) said: “Cultural rights are part of fundamental human rights and the promotion of freedom of artistic expression is a value for Europe. Culture must be considered the fourth autonomous and transversal pillar of the sustainable development, together with the social, economic and environmental dimensions.”

The resolution on an EU strategy for international cultural relations was approved by 462 votes to 137, with 58 abstentions.

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