COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Czech Republic/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends

In the field of foreign cultural cooperation at the central level, the Ministry of Culture (MC) traditionally closely cooperates with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). The Czech Centres, state-managed organisations of the MFA, are other important partners.

In connection with the Czech Republic's (CR) membership in the EU, relations with other European countries are a priority. There is important multilateral cooperation within the Visegrád group, the Central European Initiative, Francophonie, UNESCO and other international organisations.

The Czech Republic has above-standard and very active ties with the so-called Visegrád countries (Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland). Regular meetings of culture ministers from these countries are held within the Visegrád group and they serve as fora for sharing experiences in the sphere of cultural policy. A very important organisation in the field of culture is the International Visegrád Fund, which annually provides support for cultural projects. In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of grants provided by the International Visegrád Fund in support of activities in countries outside the Visegrád region, most notably in the western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership, which in 2012 led to the development of a sub-programme called Visegrád 4 Eastern Partnership. More programmes of cooperation are also being developed with third countries, such as V4+Taiwan, V4+Japan, V4+Germany, V4+Netherlands, V4+USA and V4+Nordic Countries.

There is very intensive cooperation with Slovakia because of the history it shares with the Czech Republic. The Czech and Slovak Republics have since 2002 also been involved in organising and using the exhibition pavilion in Venice for the Biennale of visual art and architecture.

One consequence of the close cooperation between Visegrád countries and Austria and Slovenia was the founding of Platform Culture – Central Europe (CR, Hungary, Poland, Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia) in 2001. In 2008 the Czech-Polish Forum was founded with the aim of supporting group activities among non-governmental subjects.

A big shift occurred in general in 2004 when the CR joined the European Union because this widened the scope for various forms of cooperation between Czech and foreign subjects and for more intense participation in Community programmes.

Cultural cooperation with foreign partners, undertaken as part of the CR's presentation abroad, is organised with a view to territorially specific features and to ensuring positive feedback for the future development of Czech culture, cultural industries, tourism, economics, investment, science, research and support for Czech studies in the world. Great emphasis is put on traditional cultural cooperation towards the fulfilment of bilateral or multilateral treaties. The MFA supervises the preparation and discussion of international cultural agreements; it is therefore possible to create short-term implementation plans for cooperation that process the aims of individual ministries – the MC or MEYS.

In 2013 the first Concept for More Effective Action in the Field of Foreign Relations by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic 2013-2018 was formulated and the document reflects the tenets expressed in the National Cultural Policy of the CR 2009-2014 and in the general foreign policy of the Czech Republic (Foreign Policy Concept of the Czech Republic of 20 July 2011 no. 589).

The priorities of the Government's Programme Declaration of 2014 are to introduce a new model of promoting the Czech Republic abroad, which will be based among others on the export of Czech arts and Czech culture (see chapter 2.3).


Chapter published: 28-01-2016

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