On the occasion of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, we underline the central value of cultural diversity for the European Union. Europe is unthinkable without its cultural richness, and our societies are all the more vibrant because of it. The European Union is committed to preserving and promoting culture, and making it accessible to all, both in the EU and globally. The EU continues to promote mutual understanding among cultures, including as part of reconciliation and integration efforts, and to ensure that fundamental freedoms and human rights are upheld. Our culture, our history, and the lessons we draw from it, should serve as a source of inspiration for building a just and peaceful future.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the cultural sector, and on many aspects of culture itself. While we celebrate the current International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, we are mindful that artists of all genres and the creative economy have endured over a year without performances or physical audiences. They have been among those hit hardest by the pandemic and deserve special attention and our support.
Culture is at the heart of the challenges we face globally, notably the transition towards a green and digital economy. Building forward better and more sustainably will require cultural changes for us all. Being open to these changes, in pursuit of sustainability and prosperity, will be essential. As UNESCO’s 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions points out, culture is a driving force for sustainable development for communities, peoples and nations.
The EU is committed to further unlocking the potential of culture together with its Member States (“Team Europe”) and other international actors, in the spirit of effective multilateralism: Creative Europe supports artistic collaboration across borders; the Erasmus+ programme allows young people in particular to experience new cultures; the European Capitals of Culture celebrate cultural heritage and encourage discovery; the EU works directly with UNESCO and has invested more than €100 million since 2016 in supporting cultural and creative industries, intercultural dialogue and cultural heritage in partner countries; and the EU Spaces of Culture seek new ways to nurture cultural relations between European and partner organisations in Africa, Asia and the Americas. The EU’s recent initiative for a New European Bauhaus, a creative and interdisciplinary platform fostering collaboration to design our future ways of living together, can further contribute to this endeavour.
As Europeans, we are fortunate to have some of the finest, most creative and diverse artists in the world on our doorstep. We have cultural sites of outstanding natural and constructed beauty. Europe itself is both a mosaic and a melting pot of cultures, people and languages. As we open up our societies as part of the post-coronavirus socio-economic recovery, we look forward to experiencing once again the full cultural heritage that Europe, and the world, have to offer.