Recommendation 1566 (2002)1
European cultural co-operation and the future role of the Assembly
Parliamentary Assembly has followed closely the development of European
cultural co-operation from its start in the Council of Europe. The present
recommendation follows on from others and most recently from Recommendation
1265 (1995) on enlargement and European cultural co-operation and
(1996) on European cultural co-operation: activities of the European
Union and relations with the Council of Europe.
2. In this
context culture is used in its broad sense to include the arts, heritage,
media, science, education, youth and sport, but in no order of priority.
3. The Assembly
wishes to recognise the central importance of European cultural co-operation
and to reaffirm its own contribution to this co-operation in the Council of
Europe at the present moment.
4. On the one
hand the upsurge of international terrorism has led to a greater realisation
of the political relevance of cultural values, intercultural dialogue,
education and tolerance.
5. On the other
hand globalisation, through for example mass tourism or the new information
technologies, has placed new pressures on areas such as heritage or
languages, or even on gastronomy, requiring new policies to integrate the
cultural perspective into economic planning for sustainable development.
while the process of enlargement of the Council of Europe is nearing
completion (and has already done so as regards the European Cultural
Convention), the new process of enlargement of the European Union is only
beginning, with the potential risk for culture of a new dividing line in
7. There is
therefore a perceived need for improving cultural co-operation not only
within Europe (within the greater Europe) but also between Europe and
neighbouring countries, especially in geographical areas such as the
Mediterranean that have historical cultural links with Europe.
internal changes in the Council of Europe itself, notably the dissolution
this year of the Council for Cultural Co-operation (Steering Committee for
Cultural Co-operation), call for a new stocktaking of European cultural
co-operation in which the Assembly should play a part.
Education and culture should continue to remain central to the long-term
mission of the Council of Europe. The Assembly can therefore welcome the
inclusion of the cultural dimension in several key declarations adopted
recently by the highest authorities of the Council of Europe, notably in the
two Council of Europe Summits (Vienna 1993 and Strasbourg 1997), and in the
Budapest Declaration for a Greater Europe without dividing lines, adopted by
the Committee of Ministers in 1999.
10. However the
Assembly must regret that the importance of culture in the broad sense has
not been reflected in the subsequent cuts in budget and personnel that have
mainly affected those sectors of the Organisations activity.
re-emerges as the mainstay of multilateral co-operation, following
readjustment with the emerging democracies in central and eastern Europe and
despite the extent to which political conflict in certain areas continues to
feed on cultural differences.
12. Much of
proven value in the Council of Europes earlier work should be restated
and repeated. For example permanent education, language and history
learning, integrated conservation, youth participation, freedom of
expression, tolerance, Sport for All, etc. Quality of life should be a
shared objective throughout Europe. Cultural co-operation is a means of
tackling the problem of exclusion in all its forms and should be pursued to
the fullest extent. Education (formal and non-formal) remains the long-term
key to economic, social and political progress as well as the basis for the
development of the individual.
13. Certain new
priorities and new challenges have emerged. Values have to be constantly
defined, whether this is to take into account new social, political and
economic circumstances or resist them. Management mantras of change for the
sake of change should however be avoided.
14. The impact
of the work of the Organisation suffers chronically from lack of follow up.
The general principles and the many related recommendations and other
proposals that have been made must be more clearly articulated and presented
so as to be effective locally and to be appreciated by the parliaments and
governments of member states.
of the Assembly within the Council of Europe
Assembly believes that its own contribution to the work of the Council of
Europe is essentially one of initiation, of complementarity and
interactivity. It proposes:
establish (where they do not yet exist) and to maintain active, informal
working relations at all levels in the Council of Europe structures
(ministerial, specialised ministry representatives, Congress of Local and
Regional Authorities of Europe, Ministers Deputies rapporteur
ii. to reduce
in practice its own involvement in institutional activities (statutory
meetings, etc.) and to replace this with regular and efficient briefing,
with more politically relevant participation and with joint planning at
all appropriate levels;
concentrate its own activities on selected priorities that complement what
is done elsewhere in the Organisation.
Assembly has an external role to play. It will therefore aim:
i. to promote
co-operation in the cultural field between governmental and
non-governmental organisations through national parliaments;
provide a forum for parliamentary debate on the cultural activities of
those governmental organisations that do not have such a forum (Unesco and
encourage the participation of civil society, and in particular of young
people in the activities of the Council of Europe, without necessary
recourse to formal structures.
Ministers and cultural co-operation activities
Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers, at institutional
Assembly representation in steering committees and consider in particular
whether it is appropriate to maintain full membership of committees set up
on the basis of the European Cultural Convention;
reintroduce, where appropriate, the practice of colloquies between
parliamentarians and ministers at European conferences of specialised
reconsider the Assemblys earlier suggestion that the Committee of
Ministers meet occasionally at the level of specialised ministers;
iv. give a
higher priority to the promotion of European cultural co-operation
throughout the many fields involved (including media) and to its
integration in the main policy fields of the Organisation as a whole and
provide the appropriate resources and governmental co-ordination;
that information on Council of Europe activities is made available for use
nationally (in an appropriate form and language);
actively co-operation with other governmental organisations (Unesco, OECD,
etc.) and with the European Union with a view to establishing effective
partnerships and a better sharing of available resources;
take the necessary steps so that the European Union becomes party to the
European Cultural Convention (Council of Europe) and that the broader
Europe is included in any arrangements for cultural co-operation envisaged
by the European Convention (European Union);
continue to associate civil society with these activities and in
particular young people.
Assembly debate on 24 June 2002 (17th Sitting) (see Doc. 9473,
report of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education, rapporteur: Mr de
adopted by the Assembly on 24 June 2002 (17th Sitting).