Culture in International cooperation: policy and regulatory framework
TFEU sets out common principles and objectives for the EU’s external action: democracy, the rule of
law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human
dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity. The creation of the European External Action Service
(EEAS) in 2009 - the EU diplomatic body to assist the High Representative for common foreign and
security policy and Vice-President of the Commission - aims at strengthening coherence in EU
Implementation of international cooperation is the result of collaboration of EEAS and the
Commission. EU Delegations are involved in the implementation of cultural cooperation with third
countries. Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty amending TFEU in 2009, the
Delegations abroad are responsible for coordinating and hosting meetings of the EU Member States’
Cultural Counsellors. They cooperate closely with Member States’ cultural centres through the
EUNIC network (European Union National Institutes for Culture).71 Lastly, the Commission develops cooperation with UNESCO, the Council of Europe and other multilateral institutions which are active
in the field of culture, development and external relations.
A new strategic framework for culture in the EU’s external relations has emerged following the adoption of the Agenda for culture in 2007: culture is increasingly perceived as a strategic factor of political, social and economic development than showcasing of isolated cultural events. Further strengthened by the ratification of the Convention by the EU and almost all its Member States, this novel approach provides for a more in-depth cultural cooperation between our continent and the rest of the world.
In addition, the Council Conclusions on the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue in the external relations of the EU and its Member States (2008) outline a strategic approach for culture in the context of external relations of the EU. They set out fundamental principles and outline basic pointers for the implementation of the Convention. They call on Member States and the Commission to define comprehensive and consistent approaches by drawing up a European strategy for incorporating culture in external relations, as well as specific strategies for regions and countries outside the Union.
Culture is a standard feature of EU international cooperation instruments and in its bilateral agreements with third countries. Cultural cooperation with third countries is formulated through different means and objectives. Cooperation and policy dialogue may be based on reciprocity, mutual learning and sharing of best practice, as may be the case of industrialised or emerging partners. Cooperation with our developing partners seeks, on one hand, to enhance the diversity of cultural expressions and facilitate access to them. On the other hand, it seeks to support the development of cultural policies and of structural capacities within the local cultural and creative sectors in order to contribute to socio-economic development (see infra section 2.3 on the integration of culture in sustainable development). Cooperation and policy dialogue with partners across the board is anchored on the Convention.