CAE letter to President Von der Leyen

July 19, 2019, 12:00 pm

EU values, democracy and culture are intimately related, for each of them to thrive, they all must thrive. Thus, we were glad to hear in your opening Statement in the European Parliament Plenary Session that you are committed to build a united Europe of peace and a Europe of values underpinned by the rule of law. We count on you to promote a vision of Europe based on an open, diverse, dynamic, fair, inclusive and democratic culture.

To this end, and on behalf of the members of Culture Action Europe, we call upon the European Commission to propose a Commissioner for Culture ready to proactively promote and defend cultural diversity and EU values, support cultural and artistic cooperation across borders and thus, contribute to shaping the European cultural space, which is a basis of a strong Union.

Culture and cultural heritage should not be seen in isolation, as recognised in the 2018 European Agenda for Culture. Culture is proven to be a valuable driver fostering change in a range of policy areas. Thus, we urge the Commission to:

  • Appoint a Commission Vice-President with a culture portfolio, responsible for the transversal interaction of culture with other policy areas.
  • Embed culture in the European Commission priorities in the 2021-2027 cycle, recognising that:
  1. Investing in culture is essential for our sustainable and inclusive future, inter alia for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  2. Developing a fair, innovative and solid economic base for the future of the Union cannot happen without the contribution of the cultural workers and organisations building a new digital economy and society.
  3. Cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue play an important role in the promotion of human rights, tolerance, and non-discrimination across the world, in line with the promotion of Europe’s values in the world – and as emphasised in EU’s Strategic Approach to International Cultural Relations.
  4. Defending our fundamental rights and freedoms requires art and culture to be free. The value of cultural diversity and freedom of artistic expression is increasingly challenged in Europe and must be actively promoted in accordance to Art.2,6,21,49 TEU, Art.167 TFEU and Art.13 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The future of the European Union as a shared project is difficult to imagine without the explicit recognition of its cultures, its cultural heritages and the cultural participation of its citizens. Culture is a mobilising force for a Europe that shares a common ground, but is also ambitious in projecting Europe forward through contemporary creation, creativity and innovation. Organisations in arts and culture in all its diversity are ready to be a companion and ally in this endeavour.

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