The Strategic Role of Culture in the European Project

The Lisbon Agenda report, “Culture, the heart of a knowledge-based economy: the strategic use of culture in the European project”, completed by ECP Lisbon Agenda Research Group in Tuscany, July 2006

The document outlines the central role that culture ought to play in the formulation of an agenda for the future of Europe. As the result of a research project, undertaken by the ECP Lisbon Agenda Research Group of the European Cultural Parliament, it describes the opportunities for a new and essentially strategic use of culture. This new development may contribute to the economic, social and educational transformation that is shaping the new Europe. Recent examples show such strategic uses of culture already developing in different domains of society. It is our conviction that the Community should recognize this and act on it to allow culture to play an essential role in the fulfilment of its fundamental aims and ideals.

The importance of a knowledge-driven economy for the future of Europe is highlighted by the European Council in the Lisbon Agenda (2000), which speaks of

…a challenging programme for building knowledge infrastructures, enhancing innovation and economic reform, and modernising social welfare and education systems.

The agenda formulates a new strategic goal for the next decade, where Europe is set

…to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustaining economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.

The role of culture for the implementation of the Lisbon Agenda is outlined in the four main objectives mentioned in article 151 of the European Community Treaty, which speaks of

contributing to the flowering of the cultures of Member States, whilst respecting their national and regional diversity and at the same time bringing the common cultural heritage to the fore;

encouraging contemporary cultural creation;

taking the cultural dimension into account in all community policies;

encouraging cooperation between the Member States and with third countries and international organizations.

The cultural policy of the European Community has been implemented mainly through the Kaleidoscope, Ariane, Raphael (1994-1999) programmes, and Culture 2000 (2000-2006). The third generation programme will cover the period from 2007 to 2013. We submit this document in the hope that it may play a role in the development of a successful European cultural policy for the next ten years.

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