"In the era of social media and shrinking distances, our cultures are bound to meet," said EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. The plans will be implemented via 139 delegations and offices already operating around the world,This is not the first time that "culture" has been invoked to create a single policy or a single "European" identity. The whole idea is barmy: the whole point of European culture is its diversity (it's a real word if you use it correctly), not some state sponsored structure though that, too, has been tried before.
Here is the press release on the subject and it enlightens us a little bit:
The strategy adopted today is in line with the Commission's priority to make the EU a stronger global actor. Culture can play a crucial role in strengthening international partnerships.The lack of meaning in that gobbledy-gook will not prevent large amounts of money being spent on this propaganda campaign - you like Michelangelo's work? well, he would not have been able to do that without the EU. As to freedom of speech, I am not sure the EU and Signora Mogherini know what that means.
The 'Strategy for international cultural relations' presented by the European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy aims at encouraging cultural cooperation between the EU and its partner countries and promoting a global order based on peace, the rule of law, freedom of expression, mutual understanding and respect for fundamental values.
EU High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: "Culture has to be part and parcel of our foreign policy. Culture is a powerful tool to build bridges between people, notably the young, and reinforce mutual understanding. It can also be an engine for economic and social development. As we face common challenges, culture can help all of us, in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia, stand together to fight radicalisation and build an alliance of civilisations against those trying to divide us. This is why cultural diplomacy must be at the core of our relationship with today's world."
European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: "Culture is the hidden gem of our foreign policy. It helps to promote dialogue and mutual understanding. Culture is therefore crucial in building long-term relationships with countries across the whole world: it has a great role to play in making the EU a stronger global actor."
European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, and Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, welcomed the Strategy, in line with the recently adopted 2030 Agenda acknowledging global citizenship, cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue as overarching principles of sustainable development and for the EU's neighbourhood and enlargement policies.
Culture can play an important role in the EU's foreign policy. Cultural cooperation counters stereotypes and prejudice by nurturing dialogue, open-mindedness, dignity and mutual respect. Inter-cultural dialogue can help prevent conflicts and foster reconciliation within and between countries. Culture can help respond to global challenges such as the integration of refugees, countering violent radicalisation and the protection of the world's cultural heritage. Culture can also be a tool to deliver important social and economic benefits both within and outside the EU.