Recommendation 1758 (2006)1

Follow-up to the 3rd Summit: priority for cultural co-operation

1. The Parliamentary Assembly points out the political relevance of cultural values and intercultural dialogue in facing situations of conflict and terrorism. It stresses the importance of education for democratic citizenship and of cultural diversity in sustainable development. It insists on the need for constant debate on cultural and religious values, on their place in democratic society and in response to the challenges of scientific and technological change. It wishes to encourage the active participation of civil society and in particular of young people in such dialogue.

2. The Assembly believes that such cultural issues are central to the long-term mission of the Council of Europe alongside democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It regrets, however, the lack of priority in terms of budgetary and other resources that is given to this field. Despite continued emphasis on the importance of culture in the broad sense, continuing cuts in budgetary provision and other resources are seriously jeopardising the competence, credibility and influence of the Organisation in this field.

3. This position was last set out in Recommendation 1566 (2002) on European cultural co-operation and the future role of the Assembly, where the Assembly reaffirmed its long-standing support for European cultural co-operation as carried out in the Council of Europe and in particular on the basis of the European Cultural Convention (ETS No. 18).

4. The Assembly was pleased to be actively involved in the series of ministerial conferences held to mark the 50th anniversary of this convention in Wrocław (December 2004), Strasbourg (September 2005) and in Faro (October 2005). It notes the stress placed by these conferences on the importance of cultural co-operation in promoting the core values of the Council of Europe and welcomes the significant steps made towards identifying key lines of action for a Europe without dividing lines and the launching of a programme of intercultural dialogue.

5. The Assembly also welcomes the attention paid to European cultural co-operation by the 3rd Summit, held in May 2005 in Warsaw. Both the Declaration and the Action Plan give ample space to this area and reflect most of the concerns transmitted before the summit by the Assembly in its Recommendation 1693 (2005) on the Parliamentary Assembly’s contribution to the 3rd Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe. This has been recognised in the Assembly’s first reaction to the summit in Recommendation 1712 (2005) on the follow-up to the 3rd Summit, paragraphs 16 to 21.

6. The texts of the 3rd Summit mention most areas of cultural co-operation. The Assembly believes that the Council of Europe should maintain a working presence across the board (including coverage of science and media) even if it may not be possible to sustain priority activities in every area. It is, of course, concerned at evidence of cuts in the sports and youth sectors and hopes that these can be corrected.

7. Recent texts relating to cultural co-operation have placed considerable emphasis on the possibilities of joint programmes or projects in the broad cultural field with other organisations (European Union, OSCE and UNESCO). The Assembly is aware that this may be a way of increasing resources for action by the Council of Europe. It would like to have confirmation from these potential partners.

8. The development of intercultural dialogue has been identified as one of the major areas of future Council of Europe activity. The Assembly supports this dialogue both within Europe and with neighbouring regions outside, in line with its own Recommendation 1590 (2003) on cultural co-operation between Europe and the south Mediterranean countries. It will itself be making a contribution to the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue.

9. The Assembly welcomes the new Europe-wide youth campaign to promote diversity, inclusion and participation in society that the summit proposed. It looks forward to playing an active role in this campaign.

10. It also recognises the role that culture can play in situations of conflict. The Assembly itself has already contributed to activities of this type (Middle-East peace process, the former Yugoslavia) and wishes to support ongoing intergovernmental activities (for example with regard to the cultural heritage in the South Caucasus).

11. More generally, the Assembly reiterates its belief that its contribution to the work of the Council of Europe in the field of cultural co-operation lies in initiative, in complementarity and in interactivity. It regrets that it too lacks the resources necessary to fulfil its potential contribution.

12. The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

12.1. recognise culture in the broad sense – including the arts, cultural heritage, media, science, education, youth and sport – as part of the central mission of the Council of Europe alongside democracy, human rights and the rule of law;

12.2. provide the appropriate and necessary resources to carry out the priorities for action in these fields as identified by the 3rd Summit, while at the same time maintaining a working presence in all areas of cultural co-operation, with the possibility of reacting to new proposals where this can be worthwhile;

12.3. promote, in particular, the role of the Council of Europe in intercultural dialogue (both within Europe and with neighbouring regions) and cultural diversity;

12.4. continue to develop education for democratic citizenship with programmes for teacher-training and its extension into non-formal education;

12.5. maintain its unique co-operation between governments and representatives of independent institutions of higher education;

12.6. maintain and develop the exchange of information and networking in the fields of cultural policy and cultural heritage;

12.7. promote the democratisation of access to culture through such activities as the European heritage days, the European cultural routes and corridors, the Council of Europe art exhibitions and the European Museum Forum;

12.8. continue its work on language learning with particular reference to the diversification of linguistic understanding and to the preservation, where viable, of minor languages;

12.9. re-evaluate the future of sports co-operation in the light of the conclusions of the Informal Conference of European Ministers responsible for Sport, in Moscow, in October 2006;

12.10. guarantee funds for the upkeep of the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg in order to permit the continuation of youth activities and secure funding for the new Europe-wide youth campaign to promote diversity, human rights and participation in society;

12.11. encourage member states that have not yet done so to ratify the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (CETS No. 199, Faro 2005);

12.12. develop the monitoring of standards and the implementation of international instruments relating to the cultural field (notably with regard to cultural heritage, education, sport, media and bioethics) and associate the Assembly with this;

12.13. seek support from other governmental organisations (such as the European Union, OSCE and UNESCO) for closer institutional co-operation in the cultural sector with the Council of Europe;

12.14. invite the European Union, pending its becoming a member of the Council of Europe, to accede to the European Cultural Convention.

1. Assembly debate on 28 June 2006 (20th Sitting) (see Doc. 10971, report of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education, rapporteur: Mr Lluís Maria de Puig).
Text adopted by the Assembly
on 28 June 2006 (20th Sitting).