Germany acceded to the UNESCO Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013.
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 area of culture has evolved since 1992 on the basis of Article 151 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community (now Article 167 in the Lisbon Treaty). Member states work together to adopt common legal framework, such as Directive 96/100/EC on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a member state and through specific programmes facilitating co-operation among the member states themselves and between the member states and third countries such as Culture (2007–2013), Europe for Citizens and MEDIA 2007.
The debate about the structure of the EU funding programmes after 2013 started in 2011. The currently independent programmes Culture (2007-2013), MEDIA and MEDIA MUNDUS will be combined in the "Creative Europe" programme after 2013. This programme aims at strengthening the culture and creative sector. The proposal for "Creative Europe" is currently being negotiated by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.
The Cultural Contact Point provides information about the programme CULTURE (2007-2013) and assists with the application procedure. In 2012, cultural actors in Germany received 9% of the programme budget.
The German cities, Berlin-Neukölln and later also Duisburg, Dortmund, Erlangen, Munich and Offenburg are taking part in the "Intercultural Cities"-Programme which was initiated by the Council of Europe in partnership with the European Commission in 2008.
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)..
In the context of the preparations for "RUHR.2010" (when Essen and the Ruhr district assumed the role of European Capital of Culture), many trans-border activities were prepared, including with the other two "capitals" of that year, Istanbul and Pecs. Already in 2006, representatives from 31 Ruhr district cities and 92 European twin cities came together in Essen, Dortmund and Duisburg, to discuss the issues of "urbanity", "identity" and "integration" and agreed upon further co-operation (TWINS). "RUHR.2010", Istanbul 2010 and Liverpool 2008 contributed to the foundation of a network of European Capitals of Culture. Furthermore, "RUHR.2010" worked together with other initiatives such as Eurocities and Les Rencontres.
Under the motto "Jointly shaping the future", Germany and Russia implemented joint projects in the areas of culture, education and science as well as policy and economics in 2012/2013. One of the key events was the exhibition "Russians and Germans – 1000 years of art, history and culture" which was shown in Moscow and afterwards in Berlin.