Cultural policies of the European Union

European Union culture policies aim to address and promote the cultural dimension of European integration through relevant legislation and government funding.[1] These policies support the development of cultural activity, education or research conducted by private companies, NGO's and individual initiatives based in the EU working in the fields of cinema and audiovisual, publishing, music and crafts.

The European Commission runs Culture Programme (2007-2013),[2] and the EU funds other cultural bodies such as the European Cultural Month, the Media Programme, the European Union Youth Orchestra and the European Capital of Culture programme.

The EU awards grants to cultural projects (233 in 2004) and has launched a web portal dedicated to Europe and Culture, responding to the European Council's expressed desire to see the Commission and the member states "promote the networking of cultural information to enable all citizens to access European cultural content by advanced technological means."[3]

History and development

The Council of Europe, which is distinct from the European Union (EU), first formalised cultural cooperation policy in Europe with its European Cultural Convention.[4]

However, European Union-affiliated cultural policy, promoting unified cooperation between member states was first initiated with the 1992 Maastricht Treaty.[5]

Currently, a cultural contact point (CCP) is established in each EU member state, responsible for facilitating communication between the European Commission's Cultural Programme and each member state.[6]

Institutions and bodies

The most important EU institutions through which decisions are made regarding cultural policies are:

List of institutions and bodies

The EU promotes cultural development through numerous institutions, civil society organisations and networks such as:

ECSA]] - network


ADCE]] - network


ENCATC]] - network

  • Eurozine - Network of European Cultural Journals
  • [[Amateo The European Network for Active Participation in Cultural Activities

Arts Take Part - Active Participation for Creative Europe]]

  • Live (DMA) - network
  • [[Association Europeenne des Conservatoires, Academies de Musique et Musikhochschulen

AEC)]] - network

  • CIRCOSTRADA) - network

JMI)]] - network

List of programmes

The EU promotes cultural development through numerous programmes such as:

List of awards

The EU promotes cultural development through the policy of awards:

List of non-EU cultural institutions, bodies and programmes

The following is a list of European institutions, bodies and programmes which may be thought to be related to the EU/EU policy, but are not:

Policies by sector

Arts and Culture

The European Commission runs the EU's Culture Programme, which typically runs in 7 year intervals. The last Culture Programme was called Culture 2000. For the next Culture Programme (2007-2013) was spent €400 million. Current program is called "Creative Europe" (2014-2020). [8]


Sport is largely the domain of the member states, with the EU mostly playing an indirect role. Recently the EU launched an anti-doping convention. The role of the EU might increase in the future, if (for example) the Treaty of Lisbon were to be ratified by all member states.[9] Other policies of the EU have affected sports, such as the freedom of employment which was at the core of the Bosman ruling, which prohibited national football leagues from imposing quotas on foreign players with EU nationality.[10]


The languages of the European Union are languages used by people within the member states of the European Union. They include the 23 official languages of the European Union plus many others. EU policy is to encourage all its citizens to be multilingual; specifically, it encourages them to be able to speak two languages in addition to their mother tongue. The reason for this is not only to promote easier communication between Europeans, but also to encourage greater tolerance and respect for diversity. A number of EU funding programmes actively promote language learning and linguistic diversity. The content of educational systems remains the responsibility of individual Member States. Further information can be found at language policy.[11]

Impact of cultural policies


See also


  1. ^ Schindler, Joerg Michael. "Culture, Politics and Europe: en route to Culture-Related Impact Assessment" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  2. ^ "European Commission - Culture". 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
  3. ^ "Cultural heritage as a vehicle of cultural identity". 2007-07-05. Retrieved 2007-07-13.
  4. ^ "Compendium: Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe". 1949-05-05. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
  5. ^ Bozoki, Andras. "Cultural Policy and Politics in the European Union" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  6. ^ "European Commission Website". 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
  7. ^ "EU Prize for Literature website". Retrieved 2013-07-24.
  8. ^ "European Commission Website". 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
  9. ^ Goldirova, Renata (2007-07-11). "Brussels' first-ever move into sport area set to spark controversy". EU Observer. Retrieved 2007-07-13.
  10. ^ Fordyce, Tom (2007-07-11). "10 years since Bosman". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-07-13.
  11. ^

External links

Gielen, P. (2015) No Culture, No Europe. On the Foundation of Politics. Valiz: Amsterdam.

Cultural Route of the Council of Europe

A Culture Route of the Council of Europe, sometimes referred to as a European Cultural Route, is a certification awarded by the Council of Europe to networks promoting the European shared culture, history and memory. These routes must also match some fundamental values promoted by the Council of Europe such as democracy, human rights and intercultural exchanges in the framework of cultural tourism.A Cultural Route of the Council of Europe is not necessarily a physical path to be walked through and can be made up of cultural stakeholders such as museums, municipalities or local governments clustered into one umbrella association. Being awarded the title Cultural Route of the Council of Europe opens the way to a larger visibility, network of cultural stakeholders or even funding. It should also be noted that the programme was launched by the Council of Europe and not the European Union, even though it contributes to it. As a result, the programme goes beyond the borders of the EU, and even Europe in general - as some Routes go as far as North Africa or the Middle East.The programme was launched by the Council of Europe in 1987. It is based since 1998 in Luxembourg, at the European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR). Since 2010, the evaluation and certification-awarding process is managed by the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (EPA).In 2018, 33 Cultural Routes were certified as listed below.

Culture 2000

Culture 2000 was a 7-year European Union (EU) programme, which had among its key objectives to preserve and enhance Europe's cultural heritage. Its duration was between 2000 and 2006, and it had a budget of €236.5 million.

Culture 2000 provided grants to cultural cooperation projects in all artistic and cultural fields (performing arts, plastic and visual arts, literature, heritage, cultural history, etc.).

The objective of Culture 2000 was to promote a common cultural area characterised by its cultural diversity and shared cultural heritage. Its stated aims were to encourage creativity and mobility of artists, public access to culture, the dissemination of art and culture, inter-cultural dialogue and knowledge of the history and cultural heritage of the peoples of Europe.

The program contributed to the financing of European Community co-operations in all artistic fields: performing arts, visual arts, literature, music, history and cultural heritage, etc. Equipped with €240 million over the period 2000-2006, this program aimed to develop the cultural diversity of the European Union, the creativity and the exchange between European cultural actors, whilst making culture more accessible to a larger public. Financial support was granted to projects which were selected on the basis of an annual Call for Proposals.

Directorate-General for Education and Culture

The Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (former Directorate-General for Education and Culture) ("DG EAC") is a Directorate-General of the European Commission.

The Education, Youth, Sport and Culture Directorate-General is responsible of policies in the field of education, youth, culture, languages and sport.

Donostia/San Sebastián 2016

Donostia/San Sebastian 2016 or DSS2016 was the year-long series of cultural events that took place in Donostia-San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa and the surrounding area to celebrate the territory’s designation as the European Capital of Culture for 2016. The project was proposed by Odón Elorza, former mayor of the city, in 2008. Although all the political parties with elected representation have supported the project, included the so-called abertzale left throughout its political tenure in the town in spite of its initial discrepancies with the scope of the project, opposition to the project has emerged related to the capitalist point of view of the project.

European Capital of Culture

The European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the European Union (EU) for a period of one calendar year during which it organises a series of cultural events with a strong pan-European dimension.

Preparing a European Capital of Culture can be an opportunity for the city to generate considerable cultural, social and economic benefits and it can help foster urban regeneration, change the city's image and raise its visibility and profile on an international scale.

In 1985, Melina Mercouri, Greece’s minister of culture, and her French counterpart Jack Lang came up with the idea of designating an annual Capital of Culture to bring Europeans closer together by highlighting the richness and diversity of European cultures and raising awareness of their common history and values.

It is strongly believed that the ECoC significantly maximises social and economic benefits, especially when the events are embedded as a part of a long–term culture-based development strategy of the city and the surrounding region.The Commission of the European Union manages the title and each year the Council of Ministers of the European Union formally designates European Capitals of Culture: more than 40 cities have been designated so far.

European Cultural Month

European Cultural Month is an event created by the European Union to promote culture. It is similar to the European City of Culture, but lasting for a shorter time and intended mainly for the Central and Eastern European countries. It was launched in 1990.

The event has currently been suspended. It is possible that it may resume, but would only take place in European cities not in countries which are members of the EU, which are therefore ineligible to be nominated as European city of culture.It is not to be confused with European Month of Culture, an initiative of the EU Delegation to the United States, which has run every May since 2013.

European Institute of Cultural Routes

The European Institute of Cultural Routes is a non-profit association based in Luxembourg whose aim is to help the Council of Europe, as a technical body, in the establishment of European Cultural Routes.

It was established in 1998 and its role is:

to examine applications for new projects;

to monitor activities in the field and co-ordinate the work of partner organizations;

to disseminate and archive information documents.The Council of Europe:

entrusted the Institute to follow up the already elected routes, to co-ordinate and provide technical aid to networks, in particular in their development in Central and Eastern Europe, to initiate new proposals as well as to disseminate information and set up a database that will constitute the memory of the programme of the cultural routes.The European Institute of Cultural Routes

The European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR) was established as a European public service and technical body as part of a political agreement between the Council of Europe and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Ministry of Culture, Further Education and Research). Since 1988 the Institute has worked in close collaboration with the Council of Europe in carrying out its responsibilities, namely to ensure the continuity and development of the programme of the Cultural Routes in the 51 signatory countries of the European Cultural Convention and, depending on the geographical and historical requirements of the themes, in those countries which have had and continue to have close relations with Europe.

The EICR resides in the Centre Culturel de Rencontre – Abbaye de Neumünster, in Luxembourg. It retains all relevant documentation and maintains a specialist library on the routes. The Institute regularly welcomes those in charge of the networks of the routes as well as project managers, researchers, students and members of the general public. The EICR is also charged with participating in European training, research and analysis programmes concerning cultural tourism, for the European Commission and various governments and project managers. The Institute organises themed symposiums and specialist training, collaborates in the setting up and running of the Routes, and participates in specialist exhibitions while promoting a greater awareness of the links between culture, tourism and the environment.

From 2004 to 2006 the Institute managed the visibility and communication work of the European research programme PICTURE (Proactive management of the impact of cultural tourism on urban resources and economies).

In 2008 the European Commission (Directorate-General Education and Culture) named the EICR as a body active on a European level in the field of Culture, in recognition for its essential role in creating a coherent programme of sustainable cultural tourism initiatives promoting the “Destination Europe” and encouraging Europeans to discover their common roots and history through travel and the exploration of material and immaterial heritage.

The Institute is a member of NECSTOUR, an association of European regions working to develop competitive and sustainable tourism, and has signed an agreement with the Cité de la Culture et du Tourisme durable to provide distance-learning and to study the sustainability of introducing tourism to the cultural routes. The Institute is currently working with the Council of Europe and the Tourism Unit of the European Commission on a study into the impact of the cultural routes on small and medium businesses.

In 2011 the Institute welcome a Partial Agreement aimed at combining the voluntary contributions of those member countries of the Council of Europe who wish to increase the funds available to the cultural routes.

Since the opening up of Europe to the East, the Cultural Routes have enabled, and continue to enable (particularly by expanding to include the Southern Caucasus), the creation of a real dialogue between Eastern and Western Europeans. The opening of a resource centre for the Cultural Routes in Sibiu, in the Casa Luxembourg, in liaison with the European Institute of Cultural Routes in Luxembourg and the Mioritics Association is testament to this.

Stefano Dominioni is the current Director of the Institute and Executive Secretary of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe. Michel Thomas-Penette and Penelope Denu directed the Institute from 1998 to 2011 and from 2011 to 2015 respectively.

Christian Biever is President of the Institute since 2018. He replaced Robert Philippart, Colette Flesch, Erna Hennicot-Schoepges and Guy Dockendorf.

European Library

The European Library is an Internet service that allows access to the resources of 49 European national libraries and an increasing number of research libraries. Searching is free and delivers metadata records as well as digital objects, mostly free of charge. The objects come from institutions located in countries which are members of the Council of Europe and range from catalogue records to full-text books, magazines, journals and audio recordings. Over 200 million records are searchable, including 24 million pages of full-text content and more than 7 million digital objects. Thirty five different languages are represented among the searchable objects.

The content of the European Library was frozen on 31 December 2016, with no new updates after that date.

European Union National Institutes for Culture

The European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) is a network of European national institutes of culture and national bodies engaged in cultural and related activities beyond their national borders. EUNIC brings together organisations from all 28 EU member states and adds value through its global network of clusters. By pooling together the resources and expertise of its members and carrying out joint work on common areas of interest, EUNIC is a recognized partner of the EU and its stakeholders in defining and implementing European policy on culture inside and outside the EU.

The overarching purpose of EUNIC is to create effective partnerships and networks between the participating organisations, to improve and promote cultural diversity and understanding between European societies, and to strengthen international dialogue and co-operation with countries outside Europe.

Since its establishment in 2006, EUNIC has evolved into a strong network delivering transnational collaborative projects worldwide through its 36 members and 103 clusters. Members consist of national cultural institutions or organizations. Clusters are collaboration platforms established where at least 3 local offices of EUNIC members operate together. Clusters can operate nationwide or citywide. A EUNIC cluster represents the whole of EUNIC and not only those members present in a country/location.

EUNIC is managed by a bi-annual meeting of the Heads of its member organisations. They elect from among themselves a President, a Vice President, and four ordinary members who together represent the EUNIC Board of Directors.

The Presidents are supported by the EUNIC Global office team based in Brussels. The EUNIC Global Office in Brussels also supports the work of EUNIC members and clusters around the world.

Members of Board of Directors (2016-2017)

President: Michael Metz Morch - Danish Cultural Institute

Vice-President: Koen Verlaeckt - Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs

Johannes Ebert - Goethe-Institut

Anne Grillo - French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development

Teresa Indjein - Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs

Łukasz Lutostański - Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PolandPrevious presidencies

Spain - Instituto Cervantes (2015-2016)

Sweden - Swedish Institute (2014-2015)Current members of EUNIC (March 2017)

Austria - Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Österreich Institut GmbH

Albania - Albanian Institute New York

Belgium - Wallonie-Bruxelles International, Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs

Bulgaria - Ministry of Culture (Bulgaria)

Croatia - Croatia House Foundation

Cyprus - Ministry of Education and Culture (Cyprus)

Czech Republic - Czech Centres

Denmark - Danish Cultural Institute

Estonia - Estonian Institute

Finland - Finnish cultural and academic institutes

France - Fondation Alliance française, Institut Français, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Germany - Goethe-Institut, Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations - IFA

Greece - Hellenic Republic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hellenic Foundation for Culture

Hungary - Balassi Institute

Ireland - Culture Ireland

Italy - Società Dante Alighieri, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Italy)

Latvia - Latvian Institute

Lithuania - Lithuanian Culture Institute

Luxembourg - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Luxembourg)

Malta - Arts Council Malta

Netherlands - Dutch Culture, Centre for International Cooperation

Poland - Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Portugal - Instituto Camões

Romania - Romanian Cultural Institute

Slovakia - Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republik

Slovenia - Slovenian Ministry of Culture

Spain - Instituto Cervantes

Sweden - Swedish Institute

United Kingdom - British Council

Europeana is the EU digital platform for cultural heritage. More than 3,000 institutions across Europe have contributed to Europeana. These range from major international names like the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the British Library and the Louvre to regional archives and local museums from every member of the European Union. Together, their assembled collections let users explore Europe's cultural and scientific heritage from prehistory to the modern day. Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer, the works of Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton and the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are some of the highlights on Europeana.

Europeana 1914-1918

Europeana 1914–1918 is a major project to digitise and publish primary and secondary historical sources on the First World War. It is coordinated by Europeana, as part of a broader program to digitise European cultural heritage.

The collection is composed of three major elements. The first, also titled Europeana 1914–1918, gathers digitised memorabilia and personal stories from individuals, including a series of public workshops where material can be scanned or photographed. The second, Europeana Collections 1914–1918, is a coordinated digitisation program by ten major libraries across eight European countries. The third element, EFG1914, is a project to digitise a substantial number of wartime silent films through the European Film Gateway.

Fireworks policy in the European Union

Fireworks policy in the European Union is aimed at harmonising and standardising the EU member states' policies on the regulation of production, transportation, sale, consumption and overall safety of fireworks across the European Union.

Greater Region

The Greater Region (French: Grande Région, German: Großregion, Luxembourgish: Groussregioun) is the area of Saarland, Lorraine, Luxembourg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Wallonia and the rest of the French Community of Belgium, and the German-speaking Community of Belgium. It is not identical with the SaarLorLux Euroregion, despite being in the same territory.It is situated between the Rhine, Moselle, Saar and Meuse rivers, has an overall area of 65,401 km². Its population counts 11.2 million inhabitants, representing 2.5% of the total population of the 27-state European Union, and accounting for the same proportion of the EU GDP.

The Greater Region is divided between Romance and Germanic languages and also forms the hub for transport in Europe. It has an urban, rural (Ardennes-Eifel-Rheinhessen) and industrial fabric which is the source of rich and ongoing economic and cultural relations.

MEDIA Programme

The MEDIA Programme of the European Union is designed to support the European film and audiovisual industries. It provides support for the development, promotion and distribution of European works within Europe and beyond. The current MEDIA 2007 programme (2007-2013) is the fourth multi-annual programme since 1991. (MEDIA 95 (1991 – 1995), MEDIA II (1996 – 2000),

MEDIA Plus (2001 – 2006), MEDIA 2007 (2007 – 2013)).

Additionally, MEDIA Mundus (2011-2013) was created for the cooperation between Europe and third countries. A new seven years' programme is currently being negotiated within the EU institutions on the basis of the Commission's proposal of a new programme for Creative Europe.

From MEDIA European producers can apply for grants to film-, televisions- and interactive projects, festivals and markets can apply for promotion events on behalf of European films, distributors and sales agents for support to launch non-national films in European theatres. Training providers may apply for training activities for increasing the competence and cooperation among the professionals, and MEDIA Mundus provides for closer collaboration between Europe and audiovisual players in third countries.

Marseille-Provence 2013

Marseille-Provence 2013 or MP2013 was the year-long series of cultural events that took place in Marseille, France and the surrounding area to celebrate the territory’s designation as the European Capital of Culture for 2013. In total, there were more than 900 different cultural events that attracted more 11 million visits. Marseille-Provence 2013 had an operating budget of approximately 100 million euros and more than 600 million euros in new cultural infrastructure was unveiled in 2013 including the MuCEM designed by Rudy Ricciotti and the Villa Méditerranée conference center designed by Stefano Boeri. MP2013 was a key part of a larger, decades-long, multibillion-dollar development effort to revitalize the city.

Protected areas of the European Union

Protected areas of the European Union are areas which need and/or receive special protection because of their environmental, cultural or historical value to the member states of the European Union.


Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

Special Protection Area (SPA)

Sport policies of the European Union

The European Union plays a minor and mostly indirect policy role in sport, because (a) sport is normally considered to be outside the competences conferred by the member states to the European Union and (b) sport is in general organised internally, on a European continental level (which is not the same as the level of the European Union), or globally.

The Europe Prize

The Europe Prize is a premium established in 1955 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. It is awarded each year to one or more municipalities that have made exceptional efforts to spread the ideal of European unity.

Union of the Theatres of Europe

The Union of European Theatres (UTE; French: Union des Théâtres de l'Europe) is an alliance of European public theatres. It serves to promote European integration through cultural interaction.

It does intensive transnational theatre work comprising over ten thousand performances and reaching three million viewers

each season. The UTE presents festivals, exhibitions, workshops, theatre school collaborations, colloquiums and co-productions throughout Europe. The Union des Théâtres de l'Europe has over 40 members, 20 of which are major national and municipal theatres from 17 countries.

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