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EU trade and political agreements with third countries
European Union
Key objectives of the measure:

The ratification by the European Union of the 2005 UNESCO convention has given impetus to culture in EU external relations, leading the EU to look for the best way to implement the Convention with its partners, including in political dialogues and trade negotiations.


An excellent paper recently prepared for UNESCO by Véronique Guèvremont and Ivana Otasevic comprehensively describes the main aims and scope of recent EU trade agreements in relation to culture (DCE/16/10.IGC/INF.3, available here:


Three EU trade agreements – with CARIFORUM (the 15 Caribbean Community states and the Dominican Republic), with Central America, and with the Republic of Korea – include a Protocol on Cultural Cooperation, with explicit reference to the Convention. The Protocols on Cultural Cooperation have broadly similar aims, and each allows the granting of preferential treatment to all Parties – including on the mobility of artists, the negotiation of co-production agreements and - in the case of Korea and CARIFORUM - preferential trade access for audiovisual works.


Several more free trade, economic partnership and political agreements concluded by the EU include references to the Convention and/or clauses which aim to safeguard the diversity of cultural expressions, including in the audio-visual field. The UNESCO paper describes 10 such EU agreements, of which four were signed or entered into force during the period covered by this report: with the SADC EPA states (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland), with Colombia and Peru, with Georgia and with Moldova. 


There are also explicit references to the Convention in the EU-China Declaration on Cultural Cooperation, Vietnam Framework Agreement, the Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, and the Mongolia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, all adopted between 2012 and 2016.

Scope of the measure:
Nature of the measure:
financial, institutional
Main feature of the measure:

The EU-Korea Protocol on Cultural Cooperation: sets a framework within which the two Parties shall cooperate to facilitate exchange in cultural activities, goods and services, including in the audio-visual sector, and to improve the conditions governing such exchanges. There have been regular meetings of the Cultural Cooperation Committee with Korea: in 2013 in Brussels, in 2014 in Seoul and in 2016 in Brussels.


EU-CARIFORUM Cultural Cooperation Protocol: There has been limited promotion and use of the Protocol during the reporting period.


EU-Central America Cultural Cooperation Protocol: The Protocol will enter into force after all ratifications of the EU-Central America Association Agreement are completed on both sides.


For more details on the features of these three Protocols and the provisions of many of the other EU agreements with third countries in relation to culture and the Convention, please see the UNESCO paper referred to previously.

Results expected through the implementation of the measure:

Through the Protocols on Cultural Cooperation the EU implements the 2005 Convention and is able to build specific cooperation frameworks for the audiovisual sector and other cultural services with third countries.

Financial resources allocated to implement the measure:

No direct financing or specific funding programmes in period 2013-16 but indirect costs incurred (staff time, travel).