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Germany/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.3 European / international actors and programmes

International co-operation in the cultural sphere is taking on increasing significance. A particularly important example in this context is the intensified efforts to cultivate a dialogue between cultures. In 2005, the German Commission for UNESCO was particularly active in the process of developing and passing a convention on protecting and promoting the diversity of cultural expressions as an international legal instrument. In February 2007, the German parliament passed the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and, simultaneously, the UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (UNESCO-Übereinkommen zum Kulturgüterschutz) (see also chapter 4.2.2). Germany acceded to the UNESCO Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013, with the instrument of acceptance deposited with UNESCO in Paris on 10 April 2013 and the Convention entering into force for Germany in July 2013.

Europe-wide co-operation in the cultural sector has developed since 1992 on the basis of Article 151 of the Treaty on the Foundation of the European Community continued by Article 128 of the Maastricht Treaty and finally by Article 167 of the Lisbon Treaty. Member states work together on passing a common legal framework, such as the Directive 96/100/EC on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a member state and by specific programmes such as Creative Europe (2014-2020). The programme Creative Europe consisting of the subprogrammes, CULTURE and MEDIA (Mesures pour Encourager le Développement de l´Industrie Audiovisuelle), supports the co-operation among the member states themselves, as well as member states and third countries. The general objective of Creative Europe is besides the promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity, especially the strengthening of the competitiveness of the cultural and creative sectors Compared to the formerly independent EU-programmes CULTURE, MEDIA and MEDIA MUNDUS, which expired at the end of 2013, the funds provided for the Creative Europe Programme increased by 9% up to 1.46 billion EUR. The subprogramme CULTURE will receive 31% of the total amount.

The national contact points are in charge of informing about the respective EU cultural funding programmes. The programmatic extension of the programme entailed a change of name from Cultural Contact Point (CCP) to Creative Europe Desk (CED). The contact points inform specifically about the subprogrammes CULTURE (Bonn) and MEDIA (Potsdam/Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Munich).

A special measure financed by the EU cultural funding programme is the initiative European Capital of Culture. After Berlin (1988) and Weimar (1999), Essen (RUHR.2010), representing the Ruhr region, was the third German city to be chosen as European Capital of Culture in 2010. According to a regular interval determined in 2014, Germany will host the next European Capital of Culture in 2025. The German pre-selection will be made via a multi-stage process by the federal states (Länder), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Auswärtiges Amt) and the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (Kultusministerkonferenz).

There are, however, other EU funding programmes beyond Creative Europe for which cultural operators can apply. Further details can be found on the website This also includes, for example, the programme "Europe for Citizens": The German contact point in Bonn provides information and advises German applicants during the application process. Likewise, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) includes several sections where culture appears as an European cross-cutting issue. There will be specific calls concerning cultural topics in the 6th Societal Challenge "Europe In A Changing World - Inclusive, Innovative And Reflective Societies" throughout the entire funding period.

Another project, initiated by the Council of Europe and the European Commission in 2008 to support municipal activities promoting intercultural diversity, is the "Intercultur Cities Programme". Participating cities – among them the German cities Berlin-Neukölln, Duisburg, Dortmund, Erlangen, Munich, Hamburg and Offenburg – are supported in their efforts to develop intercultural strategies.

During the German EU presidency in 2007, special attention was given to the topic of European cultural policies and their closer association with national cultural policies. This issue formed part of three large international cultural policy congresses conducted by the German Commission for UNESCO, the Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft (Cultural Policy Association) and the Büro für Kulturpolitik und Kulturwirtschaft (Office for Cultural Policy and Creative Industries).

Chapter published: 30-08-2016

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