International co-operation in the cultural sphere is taking on increasing significance. In February 2007, the Federal 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 sub-programmes, CULTURE and MEDIA, 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. A total of EUR 1.46 billion is available for the current term. The sub-programme CULTURE will receive 31% of the total amount.
As for all EU programmes, the new programme period (2021-27) will begin in 2021. The continuation of Creative Europe was already announced by the European Commission in May 2018, according to which both sub-programmes are to remain in place. In the CULTURE sub-programme, the existing funding areas are to remain in place and, according to the Commission proposal, be supplemented by further sector-specific funding for music, cultural heritage, architecture, mobility, design and fashion, and cultural tourism. The financial allocation of the programme is currently being negotiated in the course of the negotiations on the EU’s multiannual financial framework. The respective national contact points (Creative Europe Desks) will provide information on EU funding. For information on the CULTURE sub-programme, the CED CULTURE office in Bonn will provide information. Four regional desks (Potsdam / Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Munich) provide advice on MEDIA.
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 (together with Slovenia). The German pre-selection will be made via a multi-stage process conducted by the federal states (Länder), the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) and the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (Kultusministerkonferenz). On 12.12.2019 the shortlist consisting of 5 cities was announced with Magdeburg, Hannover, Nürnberg, Chemnitz and Hildesheim. The final decision will be made in autumn 2020.
There are, however, other EU funding programmes beyond Creative Europe for which cultural operators can apply. Further details can be found on the website http://www.europafoerdert- kultur.info. 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. The Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) has set up its own research programme Culture Relations and Foreign Policy, in which experts conduct research on questions of foreign cultural relation and educational policy (AKBP), especially in the thematic priorities: Europe, terms of dispute within the AKBP, civil society, cultural education internationally and art and cultural exchange.
 Current publications are e.g.: Weigel, Sigrid (2019): Transnationale Auswärtige Kulturpolitik – Jenseits der Nationalkultur; Blumenreich, Ulrike / Löding, Ole (2017): Synergien auswärtiger Kulturpolitik im Inland am Beispiel von Kommunen.