European Economic and Social Committee

EESC urges Commissioner Navracsics to adopt Action Plan on cultural diplomacy
Plenary debate also calls for culture to be recognised as pillar of sustainable development and as tool to fight populism

Brussels (ots) - The EU needs a concrete plan to champion culture as a vital element in open, tolerant societies, according to Europe's leading organised civil society body. The 350-member European Economic and Social Committee held a debate with Culture Commissioner Tibor Navracsics and voted through its opinion on the EU's recent strategy for international cultural relations on Wednesday at its May plenary in Brussels. "Culture has an enormous untapped potential for becoming a unifying and mobilising instrument in Europe. At a time when extremism is increasing, when our citizens are questioning their common identity more than ever - now is the moment to firmly place culture and cultural policies at the heart of the European political agenda" declared the rapporteur Luca Jahier, President of the EESC Various Interests' Group. While welcoming the recent Joint Communication 'Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations' the EESC urged the Commission and EEAS to, amongst others:

- Implement a clear action plan (and governance structure) to enhance
European culture and international cultural exchange, partaking 
advantage of the momentum created by the 2018 European Year of 
Cultural Heritage
- Recognise culture as a pillar of sustainable development, along 
with economic, social and environmental pillars 
- Make full use of culture in peace building and conflict resolution 
strategies, and for the EU to take its place as a global leader in 
peace promotion worldwide 

Commissioner Navracsics praised the EESC's opinion and agreed on the importance of all stakeholders, especially civil society, in the implementation strategy. "The role of culture is very high on the Commission's agenda. I have no doubt that it can play an enormous role in preventing conflict and social and economic difficulties, and 2018 will be a very important year for us to have a debate on the relevance of European heritage in the creation of a European identity", he added. Please find the full press release here:

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