Doc. 10421

24 January 2005

The Third Summit

Opinion1

Committee on Culture, Science and Education

Rapporteur Mr Jacques Legendre, France, Group of the European People’s Party

I.       Conclusions of the Committee

The Committee on Culture, Science and Education considers that the Third Summit must mark a clear step forward for the Council of Europe, clarify its role in the new European architecture and respond to the challenges that face the European democracies.

Many of these challenges have a significant cultural component, such as the need to strengthen social cohesion, manage increasingly multicultural and multireligious societies and defend and strengthen human rights and democratic values against a background of scientific and technological progress.

The Summit should therefore emphasise the strategic importance of cultural co-operation (taking culture in its broadest sense to include education, heritage, arts, science, media, youth and sport), alongside political and economic concerns.

The Summit should support the role of the Council of Europe as a centre of excellence for policy definition and for standard setting in relation to knowledge, skills and attitudes for life in democratic societies. It should also reaffirm the Organisation's role as an interactive pan-European forum for promoting multicultural and interfaith dialogue. In the context of the information society and globalisation it should support diversity, including media diversity. It should emphasise the contribution of culture to breaking down divisions in Europe and building closer links with the rest of the world and in particular our closest neighbours on the Mediterranean southern shore.

All these objectives were formally restated in the Wroclaw Declaration of the Ministers of Culture, Education, Youth and Sport to mark the 50th Anniversary of the European Cultural Convention which stressed "the vital importance of cultural cooperation in promoting the core values of our Organisation".

II.       Proposed changes

Amendment 1

In the draft recommendation, paragraph 5, after the words "World War" add ", fifty years of European cultural co-operation".

Amendment 2

In the draft recommendation, paragraph 6, replace "and education" with "in the broad sense (including education, heritage, arts, science, media, youth and sport)".

Amendment 3

In the draft recommendation, at the end of paragraph 12, add the following sentence "The Council of Europe should also establish appropriate instruments to enable the European Union to accede to other conventions, such as the European Cultural Convention.".

Amendment 4

In the draft recommendation, paragraph 14, before "diversity" add "linguistic and cultural".

Amendment 5

In the draft recommendation, paragraph 14, after "national minorities" add "and promoting intercultural and interreligious dialogue".

Amendment 6

In the draft recommendation, paragraph 14, after "United Nations Charter" add "and its specialist organisations".

Amendment 7

In the draft recommendation, at the end of paragraph 18.i.a, replace "culture and education" with "and cultural co-operation".

Amendment 8

In the draft recommendation, at the start of paragraph 18.i.c.D, insert "freedom of expression and".

Amendment 9

In the draft recommendation, reword paragraph 18.i.g as follows: "reaffirm that education for democratic citizenship based on the rights and responsibilities of citizens and the values of the Council of Europe, will remain a priority for the Organisation's future activities".

Amendment 10

In the draft recommendation, replace paragraph 18.ii.a.D with:        "cultural co-operation and the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural and interreligious dialogue;".

Amendment 11

In the draft recommendation, paragraph 18.ii.b, add a new sub-paragraph worded as follows: "update the 1952 co-operation agreement between the Council of Europe and Unesco to make the Council of Europe the regional organisation for cultural co-operation at both governmental and parliamentary levels "

Amendment 12

In the draft recommendation, paragraph 18.ii.b, add a new sub-paragraph worded as follows:        "support co-operation between European countries and other regions of the world, giving particular priority to the southern Mediterranean"

Amendment 13

In the draft recommendation, reword paragraph 18.ii.f as follows:

Amendment 14

In the draft recommendation, paragraph 18.ii.i, before the words "monitoring procedures" insert "country-by-country and thematic".

Amendment 15

In the draft recommendation, paragraph 18.ii.o.E, replace the words "the intercultural dialogue" with "promoting intercultural and interreligious dialogue".

III.       Explanatory memorandum

      Mr Legendre

The Committee believes that fifty years of cultural co-operation under the auspices of the European Cultural Convention have done much to bring European countries together, and did so even before the fall of the Berlin Wall (amendments 1, 7 and 10).

In this context, culture must be seen in the broadest sense to include education, heritage, arts, science, media, youth and sport (amendments 2 and 10).

It would be appropriate for the European Union to join the European Cultural Convention, but to make this possible the Summit should propose relevant instruments (amendment 3).

The Committee congratulates the Rapporteur of the Political Affairs Committee for emphasising the importance of education for democratic citizenship and refers to its own work on the subject, including Recommendations 1346 (1997) on human rights education and 1401 (1999) on education in the responsibilities of the individual. The Council of Europe has designated 2005 as European Year of Citizenship through Education and has stressed that learning about democracy is a lifelong process that concerns the transmission not only of knowledge but also of democratic practices.

However, the educational process must now evolve into a genuine education for Europe, as the Assembly has stated in its Recommendation 1682 (2004). This means that young persons must be offered not just an insight into European institutions but also the means of understanding what Europe represents in terms of the Council of Europe's generic values, particularly respect for human rights, political pluralism and the rule of law. The Assembly has also recommended that the Committee of Ministers draft a European framework convention on education for democratic citizenship and human rights (amendments 9 and 13).

The Council of Europe must now function in an increasingly multicultural and multireligious environment. We believe that no other European organisation is as well placed or has greater expertise to act as an interactive forum for promoting dialogue between different cultures and religions and between different communities and regions. Such a dialogue is necessary both to strengthen cohesion between member countries and within European society and to offer a long-term solution to some of the most serious problems facing modern society, such as terrorism, intolerance, racism and xenophobia. Reference should be made here to Recommendation 1687 (2004) on combating terrorism through culture. This dialogue, and the mutual understanding and respect that would be its greatest achievement, could also help to resolve some of the grave ethical dilemmas caused by scientific and technological progress, for example in the fields of bioethics or linked to the development of the information society (amendments 5, 10 and 15).

The Council of Europe is a reference point for the protection of freedom of expression through its numerous recommendations and the case-law on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This role should be reinforced (amendment 8).

In the context of the liberalisation of trade under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation and OECD, the Council of Europe has a major role to play in encouraging cultural diversity and defending culture as a purveyor of values rather than a consumer item (amendment 4).

The Council of Europe should also provide the pan-European dimension to UNESCO's work on an international convention to protect diversity of cultural content and artistic expression. This would be a further example of the two organisations complementing each other in the cultural field and would strengthen the Committee in its efforts to update the 1952 co-operation agreement between the Council of Europe and UNESCO (Recommendation 1420 (1999) on UNESCO). We think the time has come to make the Council of Europe the regional organisation for cultural co-operation at both governmental and parliamentary levels (amendments 6 and 11).

The Committee refers to Resolution 1313 and Recommendation 1590 (2003) on cultural co-operation between Europe and the south Mediterranean countries and calls on the Summit to support co-operation between European countries and other regions of the world, giving particular priority to the southern Mediterranean (amendment 12).

Finally, these objectives will only justify the efforts and resources mobilised to achieve them if they are accompanied by effective and transparent monitoring machinery. This is why, in addition to country by country monitoring, the Committee supports a system of reinforced thematic monitoring (amendment 14).

Reporting committee: Political Affairs Committee

Committee seized for opinion: Committee on Culture, Science and Education

Reference to committee: Doc.10272 and Reference No. 3001 of 8 November 2004

Opinion approved unanimously by the committee on 17 January 2005

Head of secretariat: Mr Grayson

Secretaries to the committee: Mr Ary, Mrs Theophilova-Permaul


1 See Doc. 10381 prov., provisional report of the Political Affairs Committee.