Presenting a new “Strategy for international cultural relations” at the Culture Forum held on 8th June 2016 in Brussels, The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini highlighted the importance of culture for achieving stable international relations. Noting that culture is “a powerful tool to build bridges between people, notably the young, and reinforce mutual understanding,” she introduced the new strategy whose aim is to strengthen cultural cooperation between the EU and its partner countries.
The strategy complements the recent announcement of a European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018, mainly because of its focus on reinforcing cooperation on cultural heritage conservation, promotion and enhancement. As a part of the strategy, the Commission and the High Representative proposed the following three work streams to advance international cultural relations with partner countries:
Supporting culture as an engine for sustainable social and economic development;
Promoting culture and intercultural dialogue for peaceful inter-community relations;
Reinforcing cooperation on cultural heritage.
In relation to the third work stream, the strategy outlines that "cultural heritage is fragile" yet essential for achieving sustainable economic development of specific regions. This is why the strategy will help futhering the efforts by European Commission to rehabilitate and promote cultural heritage in collaboration with partner countries. This will be achieved through a set of strategic steps that include heritage education, skills development, knowledge transfer, as well as the development of strategies to:
Support research and innovation in the field of cultural heritage;
Combat trafficking of heritage, which will be achieved by regulating the import of cultural goods into the EU;
Protect heritage and promote cultural diversity through a series of innitiatives aimed at evaluating damages to cultural heritage sites and planning their reconstruction.
With these goals in focus, the new “Strategy for international cultural relations” represents a key innitiative for enhancing the work in the fields of culture and heritage, while strenghtening relations between EU and partner countries. At times when the global cultural landscape undergoes a major transformation, strategic collaboration on cultural matters can greatly contribute to sharing and promoting the values of cultural work.
Putting Culture at the heart of EU international relations – European Heritage Heads Forum:
Press Release – European Commission: