RECOMMENDATION 1265 (1995)1 on enlargement and European cultural co-operation

1.The European Cultural Convention of 1954 has proved its importance as a primary instrument of cultural co-operation in the Council of Europe. It is now the basis of co-operation between forty-three countries in the fields of culture, heritage, education, youth and sport.

2.The Assembly, which has throughout stressed the significance of this activity, appreciates the considerable assistance that Council of Europe member states have given and are continuing to give to convention activities involving non-member states.

3.The Assembly also congratulates the Council of Europe Secretariat for managing to carry out the ambitious range of activities involved with a minimum of financial and human resources.

4.This workload has considerably increased with enlargement of cultural co-operation since 1989 to include most of Europe. To multilateral co-operation has been added assistance and training. This inevitably calls for greater resources; enlargement should in no way be used as a means of reducing contributions by individual member states.

5.The Assembly therefore asks the Committee of Ministers to ensure that the cuts in the grant-in-aid to the Cultural and Sports Funds in 1994 and 1995 are made up in 1996 and that the programme for the new European Youth Centre in Budapest is fully funded.

6.The main area of concern is the level of Secretariat staffing, which has not increased in step with the new needs of enlargement. The Committee of Ministers should give priority to increasing staffing in areas that are already dealing with "greater Europe".

7.The possibility of enlargement to encompass the whole continent has marked the renaissance of Europe. The step to cultural co-operation on this level is a significant political step in the development of countries only now emerging from totalitarianism and should not be rushed by over-hasty aspirations to immediate political maturity and therefore full membership.

8.Obstacles should be removed for the remaining European states that wish to enter into cultural co-operation. The Assembly has already stated in Recommendation 1239 (1994) that all the republics of the former Yugoslavia should be readmitted to the European Cultural Convention.

9.The Assembly suggests that accession to the convention be limited to the same geographical area of Europe as has been proposed for the enlargement of membership of the Council of Europe in Recommendation 1247 (1994). It believes, however, that the process of European cultural co-operation should operate in as open a manner as is practicable, and calls therefore on the Committee of Ministers to consider in a positive manner requests from non-European states to be associated with the convention, their association being conditional on mutual interest, as in the present cases of Canada and Israel, and on the payment of a reasonable financial contribution.

10.The Committee of Ministers is asked to consider altering the statute of the European Youth Foundation to bring membership into line with the European Cultural Convention as has already been done with the revised statute of the European Youth Centre.

11.The Assembly welcomes the virtual extension of media co-operation to all states party to the European Cultural Convention and would suggest that the Committee of Ministers reinforce the pan-European approach to activities in this field.

12.The Assembly is very conscious that, with the extension of activities and enlargement, its own contribution to European cultural co-operation has been severely limited by human and financial resources at both parliamentary and Secretariat levels. It calls on the Committee of Ministers to provide the necessary logistical support.

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1. Assembly debate on 25 April 1995 (11th Sitting) (see Doc. 7272, report of the Committee on Culture and Education, rapporteur: Mrs Fischer).

Text adopted by the Assembly on 25 April 1995 (11th Sitting).