sustaining the development of intercultural competence within Europe
- A1. The Europe of cultures: member states should be encouraged to spend part of their subventions for artistic cultures on projects in which artists co-operate Europe-wide
- A2. The new member states: culture at the forefront
- A3. Meeting points: supporting the cultural networks in Europe
- A4. Curb cultural market domination in Europe: the right of access
- A5. The article 151 and European cultural policy
- A6. An observatory of European cultural policy
- B1. Film production is not the problem; it’s the distribution
- B2. the revision of the Directive Televison without Frontiers
- B3. Fixed book prices
- B4. Language is what you are: stimulate the use of many languages
- B5. The protection of the cultura heritage
- B6. The free movement of artists
- B7. Working conditions
- B8. Less publicity and noise in the public domain
- C1. Peace and stability in Europe: cultural co-operation with the EU bordering states
- C2. WTO, the cultural eemption, and a new international treaty on cultural diversity
- C3. Cultural co-operation with other parts of the world
The European Union has in its Treaty of Amsterdam a promising article 151 which invites, stimulates and obliges all different players in the Union to take care of the flourishing diversity of cultures. In this article the division of responsibilities is more or less adequately balanced, according to the principle of subsidiarity. First, cultural policies should be developed at the lowest level possible: member states, regions, local authorities. Second, member states and regions should co-operate. And, third the Community itself has an active role to play, and the Community shall take cultural aspects into account in all its actions. This last point has stayed thus far too much in the shadow, which will change, hopefully, after this publication.
Since Maastricht, 1992 (article 128) and even since Amsterdam, 1997 (when 128 became article 151) the Community failed to clearly articulate its role and take on its responsibilities. Nevertheless, there is a great need for Community action on several cultural issues, where the old and the new member states alone, or even in the co-operation between them, cannot shape the conditions for the flourishing of the much desired cultural diversity. In this research paper I will discern a list of issues for which the Community is responsible.
For each topic I will describe the situation, analyse arguments and formulate concrete proposals; all not longer than one page; and divided into three clusters:
A. proposals with a general cultural policy character;
B. proposals which concern specific fields of the arts;
C. and proposals which have an eye on the rest of the world.
What I present here is a research paper, it is a work in progress: the debate is open. And then, the Parliament, the Commission and the Council should do what the Treaty of Amsterdam obliges them to do in its article 151: to take action in the cultural field, and also on the Community level. In order to raise awareness that the Community has an active role to play concerning culture I will print here the full text of article 151, and italicise those segments which explicitly mention that there is a common task:
- The Community shall contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States, while respecting their national and regional diversity and at the same time bringing the common cultural heritage to the fore.
- Action by the Community shall be aimed at encouraging co-operation between Member States and, if necessary, supporting and supplementing their action in the following areas:
- improvement of the knowledge and dissemination of the culture and history of the European peoples;
- conservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage of European significance;
- non-commercial cultural exchanges;
- artistic and literary creation, including in the audiovisual sector.
- The Community and the Member States shall foster co-operation with third countries and the competent international organisations in the sphere of culture, in particular the Council of Europe.
- The Community shall take cultural aspects into account in its action under other provisions of this Treaty, in particular in order to respect and to promote the diversity of its cultures.
- In order to contribute to the achievement of the objectives referred to in this Article, the Council:
- acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 251 and after consulting the Committee of the Regions, shall adopt incentive measures, excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States. The Council shall act unanimously throughout the procedure referred to in Article 251;
- acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission, shall adopt recommendations.’ There is no doubt that the article 151 refers several times to the fact that the Community itself has its own responsibility and obligations to act. Before analysing the article 151 more closely, it is important to distinguish between culture in the anthropological sense on one side, and artistic cultures and artistic cultural life on the other. Culture in the anthropological sense includes all aspects of human life and ways of life; not only how people express themselves and organise their emotional life and ideologies, but also how they regulate, for instance, their social and economic relations, and how they take care, or not, of the ecology and (mental) health in their societies. This is not the scope of the article 151.
The reach of article 151 is the field of artistic cultures, which means making sure that a great diversity of forms of theatre, music, dance, operas, soap operas, visual arts, design, films, books, and mixed media will be and can be created, produced, distributed, promoted, received and discussed all over Europe, independent from genre or dominant preferences. What some people may love as artistic expressions, other people may find offensive. This broad field of artistic expressions should have the chance to exist in Europe, whilst not being threatened by homogenising tendencies. To the promotion of this purpose should be added the development of intercultural competence among people living in Europe. Article 151 should be interpreted as the guarantee that real artistic diversity can exist permanently in Europe. There is no reason to exclude certain kinds of works of arts from the working of article 151. It does not matter whether the carrier is paper, stage, television , computer, or the wall of a gallery or museum, from big to very small, from very popular to more experimental.
When we investigate the article 151 through a loupe, we discover that within the political arena of the last ten years it is far richer than has been previously thought.
- The first words of the article stipulate that the Community must do something. It is not written: can contribute or may contribute. It is the more imperative: shall contribute. Contribute is an active concept: those who have been asked to contribute must do something. In this case: contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the member states. In the following pages I will indicate several issues, where this contribution, as a specific own role of the Community, is to be implemented. Also, the Community must bring the common cultural heritage to the fore. It
would be a misunderstanding to limit the concept of heritage to what the
cultural past has delivered to us in the field of concrete works of art, objects and buildings. The common European heritage is as well the capacity to develop diversity of works of art. Thus, the common cultural heritage has this rich and ongoing capacity, which should be promoted.
- Clause 2 says, that the Community shall encourage co-operation between Member States in the cultural field. However, it appears that the co-ordination of such co-operation ‘has never really been implemented either on the initiative of the Council or by Commission proposal.’ This is the conclusion by the member of the European Parliament, Giorgio Ruffulo, who as a rapporteur has prepared the Resolution on Cultural Co-operation in the European Union (2000/2323, INI, adopted on the 5th of September 2001). In the Explanatory Statement on this Resolution it is written: ‘The current absence of systematicco-operation between EU cultural measures and national cultural policies is due to a restrictive interpretation of the subsidiarity principle.’1 Even in the European Parliament the awareness is growing that the article 151 does not mean waiting and seeing what the member states will do in the cultural field. Therefore, it is a good moment to start the discussion about what the role of the Community should be! The Community includes Parliament, Commission and Council.
In this clause 2 again, it is stipulated that the Community should do something. What? If necessary, support and supplement the actions of the member states, and particularly in a wide range of areas. I will indicate some of these issues here, which later on in this text will be discussed more elaborately. For instance, the Community should support, if necessary, the improvement of the dissemination of the cultures of people living in Europe (which is a more adequate expression than ‘the European peoples’ as mentioned in this clause 2). It is necessary to contribute, for example, to the improvement of the distribution of films made in Europe through the whole continent. This is what the individual member states cannot do on themselves.
As said already, the cultural heritage of European significance includes the European capacity to renew and diversify. This capacity should be
safeguarded. Care should be provided for the rich stock of cultural material and non-material works which has been delivered to us from the past. They should be available and open to the public, there should be means to restore them, and more than is the case now, there should be elaborate theft prevention and Europe-wide tracking of stolen objects.
One of the areas requiring support are non-commercial exchanges. This
concept demands clarification. Commercial exchanges are those exchanges with as its main purpose, the commercial gain or effect. Other cultural
1 See: The Unity of Diversities. Cultural Co-operation in the European Union, edited by the Parliamentary Group of the PSE European Parliament, Firenze (Angelo Pontecorboli Editore)
A1. The Europe of cultures: member states should be encouraged to spend part of their subventions for artistic cultures on projects in which artists co-operate Europe-wide
Tekst onder 2e kop
A2. The new member states: culture at the forefront
Tekst onder 3e kop
A3. Meeting points: supporting the cultural networks in Europe
Tekst onder 4e kop
A4. Curb cultural market domination in Europe: the right of access
Tekst onder 5e kop
A5. The article 151 and European cultural policy
Tekst onder 6e kop
A6. An observatory of European cultural policy
Tekst onder 7e kop
B1. Film production is not the problem; it’s the distribution
Tekst onder 8e kop
B2. the revision of the Directive Televison without Frontiers
Tekst onder 9e kop
B3. Fixed book prices
Tekst onder 10e kop
B4. Language is what you are: stimulate the use of many languages
Tekst onder 11e kop
B5. The protection of the cultura heritage
Tekst onder 12e kop
B6. The free movement of artists
Tekst onder 13e kop
B7. Working conditions
Tekst onder 14e kop
B8. Less publicity and noise in the public domain
Tekst onder 15e kop
C1. Peace and stability in Europe: cultural co-operation with the EU bordering states
Tekst onder 16e kop
C2. WTO, the cultural eemption, and a new international treaty on cultural diversity
Tekst onder 17e kop
C3. Cultural co-operation with other parts of the world
Tekst onder 18e kop