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International cultural policy themes for 2015 to 2018 include film and new media, architecture, dance, women in the arts and sciences and Austria as a location for dialogue.

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Austria/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy

The Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs is in charge of 29 "Austrian Cultural Fora" (Kulturforen) of various sizes in 27 countries (Belgium, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States) as well as for the cultural departments or cultural attachés in the Austrian embassies.

Most of the operative budget for international cultural policy is distributed to the cultural forums, which thereby have their own annual budget. The programme planning is agreed with the respective ambassador and the responsible department in the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs.

Cultural protocols or programmes, with a term of three or four years, regulate the main types of bilateral cultural cooperation, specify the framework conditions and also include agreements on the exchange of experts, cultural activities, groups of artists, ensembles and dance companies. The general and financial provisions are subject to the agreements and protocols negotiated.

Austria has signed agreements on cultural co-operation with a total of29 states, including 16 EU member states. In addition to these cultural agreements, further agreements on co-operation in the scientific and technical fields have been signed with 18 states. Informal co-operation in the fields of culture and science has developed with seven partner states without requiring any underlying written agreement.

The main tasks of international cultural policy are outlined in the Auslandskulturkonzept 2015 to 2018.

International cultural policy as an important instrument of Austrian foreign policy aims to position Austria as a trendsetting, future-oriented state and focuses on the dissemination of contemporary aspects of cultural and scientific work in Austria. Austria is to be shown as an innovative, creative nation whose achievements in art, culture and science are built upon great traditions, a basis for further innovations. Geographically, Austrian international cultural policy is currently focusing on the neighbouring countries, the Western Balkans and Southeast Europe. Thematic priorities for 2015 to 2018 include film and new media, architecture, dance, women in the arts and sciences and Austria as a location for dialogue.

Another Focus is the Danube region: Austria is situated in the centre ofthis region of approximately 800 000 km2, with 120 million inhabitants, extending over 14 states, eight of which are EU-member states. In 2002, Austria initiated the Danube-Cooperation-Process together with Romania and in 2009 the initiative for an EU-Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) was elaborated. 2011 was the starting point for the strategy involving eight EU member states and six other European states intended to further develop the enormous economic potential of the Danube up until 2020. The strategy includes an action plan with 11 areas, based on four pillars: 1. connecting the Danube area (i.e. promotion of culture and tourism), 2.environmental protection in the Danube area, 3.development of prosperity in the Danube area (i.e. development of research capacity, improvement of education, investment in people and their qualifications) and 4. the strengthening of the Danube area. Austria is coordinating three of 11 areas.

Chapter published: 02-02-2016

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