UNESCO welcomes new EU strategy on culture in international relations
Today the European Commission and the High Representative of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini presented the new EU Strategy for International Cultural Relations, by which the European Union recognizes the role of culture as a tool to build bridges between people, and to reinforce mutual understanding.
The opening lines of the Strategy read : “Promoting diversity through international cultural relations is an important part of the EU's role as a global actor. This involves a commitment to both promoting 'international cultural relations', through the support and assistance the EU provides to third countries, and supporting the promotion of the Union and the diverse cultures of EU Member States through 'cultural diplomacy.' As a key partner of the United Nations (UN), the EU cooperates closely with UNESCO to safeguard the world's cultural heritage.”
“This strategy is the result of a shared vision and UNESCO is pleased to have contributed to it. We stand ready to work with the European Commission to implement this landmark initiative” stated the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova. The strategy, which puts culture in the middle of the external action of the European Union, is one of the pillars of the European Agenda for Culture and in line with the priorities as set by European Commission President Juncker. This considerable potential for culture was first brought forward by the European Parliament in 2014.
One of the examples where the European Union is already implementing this strategy is through the financing of the UNESCO Project on the Emergency Safeguarding of Syrian Cultural Heritage.
As a party to the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions, the EU’s new strategy re-commits it to promoting the diversity of cultural expression as part of its international cultural relations, deepening policy dialogues with partner countries and strengthening systems of governance for culture.
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