Culture for Europe, Europe for Culture

Culture for Europe, Europe for Culture... Results of the online consultation

In the preparation of the Communication the European Commission invited stakeholders (in particular organisations and individuals active in the cultural sector, including cultural industries) to express their views and opinions on the questions to be raised in the Communication. Following this on-line consultation, the DG Education and Culture (DG EAC) organised a public hearing in 4 December 2006 in Brussels.

Answers and comments made by BO are free to read below:

A. Important challenges

1. Are art and culture linked to the process of European integration and how can they contribute to it?

        Cohesion is the key term.

        Culture can help cohesion, especially by increasing the comfort feeling of belonging to the community of Europe. Culture contributes by knowing, displaying and liking our shared legacies; making us look forward to new shared experiences. If culture helps to enhance the pride and wish for belonging, then hustling over diverging economic, political, social etc. interests will be a degree easier to bear and do.  

       Today the agenda is less how culture can contribute to the integration process, than how to contribute to making the integration process more attractive.

2. Which are in your view the most important cultural challenges for Europe and for the European project in the 10 years ahead? Please explain briefly your choice.

deepening of European integration
enlargement of the EU
cultural diversity
intercultural dialogue
emergence of a European identity and citizenship

Please rank the challenges in decreasing order of importance

        Cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, but not limited to a static view of guarding over a mosaic of cultural specificities (allowing for their exchanges); at least as important is a dynamic concept of creative interactions that produce new qualities.

       "European identity" or "common values" should primarily be captured in political i.e. democratic terms, and thereby seek culture's potentials.

        Other - short of harmonisation, the EU should think about a minimum of cultural policy principles and tactfully, implicitly advocate them.

3. Do you think that culture plays a role in individual personal development and social cohesion in Europe? If so, please indicate how this role could be supported at European level?

       Those who in the EU context consider the main mission of culture to contribute to cohesion, find it obvious that cultural action can and should play a major role in social cohesion.

       Various lessons of the limited successes (sometimes counter-effects) of top down, ideology driven, social engineering type of actions, should warn the EU from too many, too direct interventions. But the writing should remain on the wall: a major mission of public culture is to serve cohesion in the society. The rest is empathy and ingenuity.

4. Do you see a role for culture as a stimulus for creativity in Europe and as a catalyst for innovation and knowledge? If so, please indicate how this role should be supported at European level?

        (Has anyone answered "no"?)

        It would be simplistic to say that the more EU spends more on culture, the closer the Lisbon targets will be. However, indeed, culturally rich environment is the key. By whatever means this is enhanced, favourable environment is made for innovation and creation. This should be an overarching principle in regional, urban, educational, social, trade etc. policies as well. Decision makers should believe in this more, and observe more, than the totally neglected § 4 of article 151.

B. The cultural sector, Community policies and cooperation in the European Union

1. Which are the most important challenges for the cultural sector in the European Union in the 10 years ahead? Please explain briefly your choice.

organisation, expression and representativity of the sector
legal and regulatory environment
European agenda for culture
financing of culture
national policy (-ies) for culture
Community policy for culture
cultural cooperation with third countries
Community culture programmes, other(s) (max. 250 signs per option chosen)

Please rank the challenges in decreasing order of importance.

       European agenda for culture

       The EU should develop a coherent cultural policy, which would then flow into strategy and programming. Such policy should have a strong statistical and research basis, focused objectives, and a cross-cutting agenda in other policy areas.


        The EU must know and observe that cinema, film making, cultural content in the media as well as on the internet, core cultural industries (book publishing, music recording) are culture and belong to cultural policies.  

2. In your opinion, which are the Community policies and their specific aspects that have the greatest impact on the activities of the cultural sector at European level or to which the cultural sector could make an important contribution? How are you affected by these policies, which developments in these policies could contribute to the development of your sector and its cross-border activities, what might this contribution consist of, serving which specific aims and with which partners? Have you identified any concerns or difficulties in relation to these policies? Which European developments could facilitate the involvement of your sector?

Please rank the policies or policy areas in decreasing order of priority and indicate, if necessary, their specific aspects (max.500 signs):

Audiovisual and Media
Civil Society
Customs Union
Economic and monetary union
Education and Training
Employment and Social affairs
and Industry
European Neighbourhood Policy
External assistance
External trade
Foreign policies

Freedom, security and justice
Information Society
Internal Market
Maritime Affairs
Regional policy

Technology and Innovation
Trans-European networks

3. In addition to the Community policies and areas mentioned above, have you identified other fields in which coordination or cooperation at European level could significantly contribute to the fostering of the cultural sector? If so, which one(s)? What should such coordination/cooperation consist of and what would be the added value?  (max 500 signs)

        "Fostering the cultural sector" has a syndicalist flavour. This is not a legitimate goal in itself. Most of the other questions have doubtless elicited good suggestions, for whose realisation citizens and politicians alike will agree to the fostering of the cultural sector.

C. International aspects and co-operation with international organisations

1. What is the scope of your activities and/or co-operation with and/or in third countries (outside the EU)? In which geographical areas and in which cultural sector(s)? Which should in your view be the objectives of the European Union in its relations with third countries in the field of culture? Which types of action(s) would contribute to these objectives?

       We (the Budapest Observatory) are devoted to the cause of eastern part of the continent, with a number of "third countries", where historical hopes and illusions prevail about any kind of relationship with western Europe. In those countries the notions of culture and civilisation are closer to one another than in the west. By promoting cultural co-operation, the EU almost always contributes to progress - without intending so or specifying it as such.

2. What is your experience of relations/cooperation with other international or regional organisations active in the cultural sphere, such as UNESCO or the Council of Europe? How do you see the relationship between action at EU level and within the framework of those organisations?

         The Council of Europe used to have the privilege to be curious about the member states' cultural policies. With due regard to the mandates left by subsidiarity, the EU should acquire and practice this feature. If it proves to be too difficult, it should use the Council of Europe for that purpose.

        Curiosity of course leads to discovery of new facts and ideas, questions and criticism, and in the end to jointly accepted principles.

       The Council of Europe learned some of this habit from OECD. That organisation should be encouraged to apply its skills to watching culture.

D. Arrangements for dialogue and co-operation at European level

1. Do you think there are particular difficulties in the framework of the dialogue between the cultural sector and the European institutions? If so, what are they? How do you think this dialogue should develop, both with regard to the cultural sector and the European institutions in order to make it more structured and sustainable?

        Here, too an important factor is the recognition that cinema, film making, cultural content in the media as well as on the internet, core cultural industries (book publishing, music recording) are culture and belong to cultural policies.  

2. What could be in your opinion the objectives common to the whole of the cultural sector at European level?

3. Among the areas of action in which more advanced coordination between Member States of the EU might be feasible, which are the ones with significant European value added for the world of culture? Should this coordination involve all Member States or could it be developed by a group of interested countries?        

Please present the areas in decreasing order of importance

       The concept of linguistic diversity calls for the strategic involvement of the cultural industries, both on national and on European level. MEDIA covers the entire scale of the world of film from training to marketing and trade, and goes beyond art films: similarly, the EU should feel responsible for (traditional and digital) publishing in all languages other than English, French, German, and Spanish: including, of course, minorities. 

       Similarly, the EU should feel responsible for the entire chain of publishing in all languages other than English, French, German, and Spanish: including, of course, minorities.

       Not only publishing in, but also translated from these languages.

A similar document from 2002