Cyprus, as a member of the European Union since 2004, actively participates in a number of EU projects and programmes. During the years 2007-2013, Cyprus has received EU financial support for projects which fall under programmes with cultural dimensions (Culture Programme, Europe for Citizens Programme and the Media programme). In that context, state support is provided for the operation of contact points for the above mentioned programmes. The Ministry of Education and Culture maintains provisions for the support of Cypriot cultural agencies whose projects are selected for co-financing by the European Commission, while it continues to participate, through the Cultural Services, in the management committee (of national representatives) of the Creative Europe Programme.
Under certain conditions, culture in its broader sense can also receive funding from a number of other European programmes such as the European Structural and Investment Funds.
Cyprus since 2006 is a member of the International Organisation of La Francophonie. In this framework, certain initiatives regarding the promotion and transmission of the French language have been adopted.
Cyprus was amongst the first countries to ratify the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions on 19/12/2006. Certain provisions of the Cyprus Constitution promote the respect to Human Rights without making any distinction or differentiation between citizens and non-citizens of the Republic and without any distinctions or differentiation on grounds of community or religion or nationality, or on other grounds.
The Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO constitutes the vital link between the state, civil society and UNESCO, acting as the state’s consultative body. The Commission is financed by the Education and Culture Ministry for its organisational needs and the promotion of its programmes.
Cyprus has been a member of the Council of Europe since 1961 and actively participates in the programmes and activities promoted through the coordinated interstate cooperation of the member states. In 1969, Cyprus ratified the European Cultural Convention.
The Cyprus Presidency of the EU
During the Cyprus Presidency of the EU in the area of culture, the Cyprus Presidency aimed at highlighting the public value of Culture and the important role of culture in the fulfilment of the objectives of the E.U. 2020 Strategy. As regards culture, the main objectives of the Cyprus Presidency were:
- to further promote the social dimension of culture;
- to promote the notion of cultural governance as a method and a tool for a more effective implementation of cultural policy; and
- to foster cultural research and evidence-based policy on culture.
During the Presidency, a Meeting of Senior Officials on Culture was held in Nicosia on the 28 and 29 of August 2012, under the title “The Governance of Culture in today’s globalised world”. The objective of the Conference related to the development of a strategic approach to cultural governance by developing specific recommendations regarding the promotion of proactive cultural research as a catalyst for the planning and development of cultural policies and for setting the framework of holistic and integrated approaches to Cultural Governance. The format of the meeting allowed the sharing of experience on evidence-based policy making. The outcome of the conference fed into the Council Conclusions on cultural governance.
In November 2012, the Cyprus Presidency managed to reach a partial agreement in the Council on provisions of the Creative Europe Programme regarding the Guarantee Facility; it aligned the overall text with the new Financial Regulation, thus only financial aspects of the Programme remained pending. The Guarantee Facility aims at improving access to financing for small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the cultural and creative sectors, contributing, thus, to economic growth, employment, innovation and social cohesion.
In response to the relevant European Commission Communication, published in May 2012, the Council adopted conclusions on a European Strategy for better internet for children.