The European Cultural Parliament was founded in the premises of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, in 2001, upon the initiative of the Swedish Ambassdor Karl-Erik Norrman. The objective was – and is – to strengthen the role of cultural and artistic ideas and initiatives in Europe. In addition, the founders of the ECP wished to strengthen the dialogue between citizens in Eastern and Western Europe and between the various arts sectors.

Europe needs a soul
– Jacques Delors

Outstanding artists and other cultural personalities from all parts of the continent were nominated Members of the ECP in 2002. Now, the ECP has 165 Members from 43 European countries.

The first session of the ECP was held in Bruges, Collège d´Europe, in November 2002. Some 40 cultural personalities from 25 European countries participated.

The theme was “How can European artists and other cultural personalities contribute to better understanding between cultures, religions and regions?”. The members agreed i.a. upon a Mission Statement to the effect that “Ethical and aesthetic values must be the essence of a new European Society”. It was also decided that the membership of ECP should continue to grow, mainly through an “organic process”, whereby ECP-Members may nominate artists/colleagues from other countries than their own. In addition, and from the third session on, a Nomination Committee has been advising the Senate in matters regarding new members.

The most recent session was our 2021 Berlin Symposium, where for the first time in 23 months some Members and Senators of the ECP met again live on 18-19 September in Berlin. The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, ICD, Berlin, had invited the Secretary General Ambassador Karl-Erik Norrman to arrange a symposium in their premises at Soltauer Strasse, Northwest Berlin. About 25 cultural personalities met at the ICD to discuss the theme “Has the Corona virus infected the European soul?”. Another 25 persons participated online in this hybrid event.

The ECP will continue to meet in coming years in culturally important cities in various parts of Europe. Several members are engaged, also between sessions, in carrying out various projects initiated by the ECP, notably NUROPE, the “Nomadic University for Arts, Philosophy and Enterprise in Europe”, which had its first “oasis” in Turku in 2006 and continued in a dozen other European cities in following years. The ECP Lisbon Agenda Research Group is continuing its work on the strategic role of culture in a knowledge-based economy.

The Senate consists of the founding fathers and mothers of the ECP and some other Senior Europeans with a cultural orientation. It functions as a standing committee for strategic issues, including financing of the ECP, choice of new host cities and considerations of new ECP members. Minister Pär Stenbäck, Helsinki Finland, is the Chairman of the Senate.

The legal and administrative centre of the ECP is the German NGO “Verein für ein Europäisches Kulturparlament”, Klett-Haus, Stuttgart.