3.4.3 European / international actors and programmes
Promotion of European and multilateral co-operation
The Ministry of Culture and Communication attends all European Community negotiations pertaining to culture. It informs French operators on European funding, provides support for certain European networks, and participates in the activities of the Council of Europe and UNESCO. The Ministry pays particular attention to cultural diversity issues dealt with by the numerous multilateral organisations (WTO and OECD in particular) and is a member of the international network on Cultural Policy (RIPC / INPC).
The Meetings for Europe of Culture (Les Rencontres pour l'Europe de la culture) reinforced the issue of cultural diversity. The fact that the Commission represented all EU members during the negotiations toward the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was a determining element. Despite the difficulties of the European constitutional draft treaty (failure of the Referendum in France in May 2005), the debates around this project show the importance of maintaining the principle of deciding unanimously for trade negotiations of goods and services when cultural diversity is in question.
France ratified the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions on the 5 July 2006. It is considered to be the first international law on culture, as well as providing the foundation for international laws on health and the environment.
France is one of the main actors leading the "International Organisation of Francophonie" (OIF), an organisation created in the 1970s, which represents approximately 200 million people who speak French today, on the five continents, and which currently gathers 68 Member states and observers. The OIF, in addition to the assertion and the promotion of the French language on the international scene, works to promote cultural diversity and development. In France, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research have entrusted the responsibility for the Francophonie to the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic.