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An ambitious Work Plan for Culture is needed

The Council of the European Union has kicked off the process that will lead to the adoption of a new Work Plan for Culture 2023-2026, the main roadmap to identify common priorities and coordinate cultural policy at the EU level. On Tuesday May 31, the Secretary General of Culture Action Europe, Tere Badia, took part in an informal meeting of the Committee on Cultural Affairs of the Council, chaired by the French Presidency in Paris, where she delivered a keynote address.

She presented the views and priorities of the wider cultural ecosystem ahead of the adoption of the next Work Plan, which will be formalised in late November under the upcoming Czech Presidency. Tere Badia pointed out both sectoral and vectorial approaches, such as but not limited to the sustainability and diversity of the sectors, freedom of artistic expression, cultural rights, and working conditions of artists and cultural workers.

Pleading the case for a Council Work Plan for culture that is more ambitious than ever, she appealed to the representatives of the 27 Member States to bring forward culture in the complex negotiations ahead.

Below are a few excerpts. For further reference, you may find the entire speech at the link below.

“A pandemic and a war have proven that we cannot go back to ‘business as usual’ anymore. Will need to face and address both old challenges and the new emergencies.  Hence, we need a courageous Work Plan for Culture that paves the way for future-proof cultural policies.” 

“That is to be aware, to begin with, that culture is both a) a sector that carries an enormous intrinsic value and needs to be supported and developed and b) a fundamental component, a vector that shapes how we live together. And both dimensions need to be addressed in the Work Plan.”

“The paradigm is not going to change by itself. Pre-existing trends are accelerating. If we want to push for this paradigm shift, we have to aim higher and be bolder. And that ambition is what we need for the next Work Plan for Culture, which should aim at this double dimension of culture: the sectoral and the vectorial. What is at stake is not only the existence of cultural goods, practices and players. We are, today, in a situation that is more unjust, more unbalanced, more scarce and bloodier than the one we started from. And we need a Work Plan that helps us to identify and address the obstacles, to work with the most vulnerable and dignify all the lifes, to stand for freedom, and to recognise the interdependence of human rights and cultural rights.”

“Two years ago, together with the European Cultural Foundation and Europa Nostra, Culture Action Europe proposed the Cultural Deal for Europe, an overarching framework imagining a meaningful post-pandemic cultural policy at the EU level that includes most of the topics I have been referring to. We believe that we cannot go back to what it was and that we need a coherent cultural frame side by side to the Green Deal.” 

“For this it is key that we tear down silos and engage also your colleagues from different services in understanding the many cross-cutting issues that can be addressed more meaningfully – and in a vectorial dimension – if only culture was at the table.”

Download the full speech here.