Culture has been both a dividing and a binding force in Europe long before the first steps were set towards forming the European Union. Its significance was endorsed in the Maastricht Treaty which recognized the potential of culture to bolster European identity promoting shared heritage, while safeguarding its diversity.
Since 1992, a lot has changed, both in European reality and in the EU cultural strategies.
While the integration began optimistically, with economic prosperity and the introduction of the euro, the new solidarity soon came under pressure fuelled by a series of economic, ideological and political crises. “Génération Maastricht” – young people born in 1992, have enjoyed Erasmus and Ryanair, but also austerity and huge youth unemployment.
The policy-makers’ view of culture seems to follow the upsetting trend: from symbolic value enhancing integration and citizenship to culture turned into a sector within the EU’s growth strategy Europe 2020. Artists and cultural operators are expected to contribute to developing ‘smart, sustainable and inclusive economy’.
Ever since the EU started formulating its cultural policy, support to emancipatory and socio-critical practices is shrinking. Yet, cultural cooperation in Europe is nowadays more needed than ever. Migrations and the refugee crisis, raising borders and Brexit underline that a united Europe is a work in progress and demands that cultural professionals act more boldly, promoting culture as a force in European policy, able to strengthen values of human dignity, freedom, equality and assist European integration.
What policy models and frameworks for cultural cooperation do we need?
How can we change them?
Can we apply the Diploma mind-set to extend cooperation beyond the paragraph?
ECDPM’s Greta Galeazzi will make a presentation at this seminar.