The European Union and culture
Silence... and action! Today, we will focus on Europe and culture. Indeed, we live on a continent full of stories, monuments, works of art, artists... Each of our countries is full of treasures we love and are proud of. How does Europe work to promote all these wonders while preserving the cultural and artistic character of each country? Let's have a look.
The European Union: a supporting role for cultural diversity
When it comes to culture, the European Union has only a supporting competence. This means that it is the member states that decide their priorities, their strategies and their action plans on cultural issues. However, the European Union is a major ally in promoting the notion of "cultural diversity" which was born with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. What does that mean? Europe wants to support the development of national cultures by promoting creation, the economic development of the cultural sector, citizens' access to culture and the influence of European culture in the world.
Since 2014, the Creative Europe programme has been supporting job creation in the cultural sector, the growth of European cinema and other cultural and creative sectors. It provides significant subsidies for film development, for example, and facilitates access to loans in this sector.
What does this mean concretely?
The European Union is involved in large-scale cultural events. The label of "European Capital of Culture" is an excellent example. Each year two cities are honoured with the label and present their heritage to thousands of locals and visitors in many cultural events.
Since 2007, the Lux Prize has been awarded to a European film that contributes to making people think about the social and political issues of the moment in Europe. The members of the jury are Members of the European Parliament. In 2018, the film Woman at war by Benedikt Erlingsson (Iceland, France, Ukraine) won this award.
Finally, national initiatives can be transformed into European events if they can contribute to the promotion of cultural diversity. This is particularly the case for the Fête de la Musique and the Journées européennes du patrimoine, which were initially French creations but have been extended to Europe with the help of the EU.
Initiatives for youth and culture
Thanks to the European Union, many measures have been put in place to facilitate young people's access to culture. There are of course preferential and reduced rates for students and underage citizens, but not only! The Erasmus programme, for example, has given thousands of young Europeans the opportunity to live and study in another country and really experience its culture as a local.
Discover EU is the latest EU programme aiming to give young people the chance to explore Europe in all its diversity. Tens of thousands of travel passes (mostly train passes) are given for free to 18 year olds so that they can meet people and cultures far from home.
Seems to me the EU is living up to its "United in Diversity" motto. We can love our own cultures and appreciate the beauty of other cultures. We can grow together. I will be giving a vote for this on 23-26 May. Whether you agree or not, vote. It's the only thing that can transform your opinion into action.