RECOMMENDATION1216 (1993)1 on European
1.Cultural co-operation along with the promotion of human rights and pluralist
democracy are the basic areas of Council of Europe activity. Moreover, cultural
co-operation can itself help strengthen human rights and democracy.
2."Culture" means the quality of life and preparation for it. The field
includes education, youth, sport, the media, leisure activities as well as the arts,
literature, architecture and the cultural heritage.
3.For the most part, co-operation in this field is conducted on a multilateral basis
under the European Cultural Convention, which by being open to non-member states now
enables virtually the whole of the European continent to co-operate on equal terms. Canada
has become a regular observer.
4.The Assembly is closely involved in this activity through its representation on the
various intergovernmental committees and on the governing board of the European Youth
Centre and Foundation. This involvement, alongside that of the Standing Conference of
Local and Regional Authorities of Europe, constitutes the interactive nature of cultural
co-operation that is unique to the Council of Europe.
5.The Council of Europe is not, however, the only institution involved in cultural
co-operation in Europe. In addition to regional bodies such as the Nordic Council, the
most significant are Unesco, OECD and, following ratification of the Maastricht Treaty,
the European Community. There is a constant need to manage the co-ordination of this
6.The Committee on Culture and Education has regularly reported to the Assembly on
European cultural co-operation, the last occasion being in 1988, before the political
changes in central and eastern Europe (see Doc. 5871 and Recommendation 1075).
7.These changes have had several consequences. The first and most significant is that
Europe has regained its historical dimension and has lost the artificial division between
east and west.
8.In terms of effectiveness, however, increased numbers have reduced ease of
communication and placed severe pressure on existing structures.
9.Working methods have had to be modified. Assistance for central and eastern Europe
has been introduced alongside cultural co-operation. While resisting direct funding of
cultural or educational activities, the Council of Europe should nevertheless continue to
adopt this more operational role. The extension of the initial Demosthenes programme
through new activities such as Socrates (for the democratisation of education, culture and
sport) can be welcomed.
10.The crisis in the former Yugoslavia has revealed serious shortcomings in European
capability to react decisively. Although the Council of Europe is not a humanitarian
organisation, it has a technical capability and a moral obligation to make this available
in many of the sectors affected (youth, education, media and cultural heritage).
11.There is a problem of funding the participation of representatives of the new
countries, and of ensuring their contribution. This should be met at Council of Europe
level and not left to the hospitality of individual member states. Although extenuating
circumstances can be admitted, it is not acceptable that new countries should not pay
their agreed contributions.
12.Partly as a result of the changes in central and eastern Europe, partly in response
to growing xenophobia and unemployment, a greater emphasis is now being placed on the
situation of cultural minorities, on standards and on values. Alongside the traditional
education system, greater emphasis is being placed on the roles of the family (whether
one-parent or not), of religion (or non-religion) and of the community. The impact of the
mass media is often singled out for criticism in this context.
13.At a time of recession and when there is a general drift towards privatisation,
governments should not abdicate their responsibilities for providing for educational
opportunities and ensuring the right conditions for the full spectrum of cultural
activity. This also applies to the funding of European cultural co-operation.
14.The Council of Europe has now the occasion to assert its cultural vocation more
forcibly. The Assembly can view with interest proposals that are under consideration for
the normative use of culture and education to promote democracy, as long as these are
separate from activities conducted on the basis of the European Cultural Convention.
15.Europe also has global cultural responsibilities. Development education is currently
promoted by the North-South Centre in Lisbon. Cultural co-operation should be strengthened
with neighbouring countries, for example around the Mediterranean and in eastern Europe.
16.The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
With regard to cultural co-operation in general
i.invite governments to reaffirm the cultural vocation of the Council of Europe and the
importance of multilateral co-operation on the basis of the existing European Cultural
Convention and maintain resources appropriate to perceived needs;
ii.invite the European Community to adhere to the European Cultural Convention;
iii.consider ways of associating other interested non-European countries in
co-operation under the convention;
iv.continue to reinforce co-ordination with other organisations and in particular with
Unesco, OECD and the CSCE;
With regard to specific sectors of cultural co-operation
v.place special emphasis on activities relating to young people and on integrating them
into intergovernmental activities in general;
vi.implement its decision to set up a second European youth centre in central or
eastern Europe and to develop a network of national and regional youth centres;
vii.continue to seek ways of promoting the diversity of cultural creativity and of
reinforcing this, for example through support for literary translation or for the
distribution of cinematographic works;
viii.reassert the role of the state and the public authorities at all levels in the
provision of educational opportunities and of conditions for cultural activity, while also
extending co-operation with the other partners in cultural life: the teachers and creative
artists, the journalists, the sponsors and the commercial sector in general;
ix.insist on a greater responsibility of the media, in particular for the quality and
ethical standard of their products;
x.develop new ways and incentives for funding cultural activities in Europe;
xi.show greater interest in and support for the European Museum of the Year Award
With regard to central and eastern Europe
xii.continue its programmes of technical assistance and co-operation with central and
eastern Europe and initiate confidence building measures in areas of tension and notably
in the former Yugoslavia;
xiii.encourage a closer co-ordination of intergovernmental and Assembly activities
along the lines of the joint consultative meetings on sports legislation (Order No. 479);
With regard to the introduction of normative activity
xiv.consider favourably proposals for the introduction of forms of cultural and
educational activity for the promotion of democracy and human rights, while maintaining a
distinction between this activity and that carried out on the basis of the European
Cultural Convention and while avoiding the questionable notion of European cultural
With regard to the dissemination of results
xv.pay greater attention to the dissemination of the results of Council of Europe
activity, through the co-ordination of subject mailing lists, the development of national
information centres and the wider translation of key documents;
xvi.provide assistance for better reporting on Council of Europe activities in national
1. Assembly debate on 1 July 1993 (43rd Sitting) (see Doc.
6850, report of the Committee on Culture and Education, Rapporteur: Mrs Hawlicek).
Text adopted by the Assembly on 1July 1993 (43rd Sitting).