For the first time the European Parliament will express its views on the strategic function of culture in the EU’s communal foreign policy.
MEP Marjetje Schaake underlines: “Culture is mostly discussed as a budget cut in Europe. But we should consider our global position as well. The US and China invest enormous amounts of money and energy in spreading their culture worldwide. They treat it as an integral and strategic part of their foreign policy. European culture is rich and diverse and Europe has every opportunity to take a leading position in the world.”
“We don’t have to start from scratch. The EU can use existing expertise and best practices. Besides that, the various European programmes need to be better coordinated, which will also result in significant savings”, she said.
Furthermore, the report contains concrete recommendations about getting artists, civil society organisations, students and business people involved in the EU’s cultural policy. The European Parliament also sees the importance of culture as a means of promoting important European values such as democracy, human rights, development, emancipation and press freedom.
Ms. Schaake warmly welcomes approval of the role of new media: “New technologies play an important role in giving access to music, film and art. However, the internet is also becoming increasingly important for freedom of expression and access to information, as witnessed so graphically in the Arab uprisings. The EU needs to bring its diplomacy into the 21st century”, she added.