Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

La diversité culturelle à l’ordre du jour du Conseil des ministres de la Culture de l’Europe : "Il ne faut pas opposer la concurrence, c’est-à-dire le marché, et la diversité culturelle"

M. Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, ministre de la Culture et de la Communication de France, Bruxelles, le 27 mai 2004 - 2004/05/27

The 2585th session of the Council of Ministers of Culture of the Council of European Union, the first since enlargement on May 1, 2004, was held on May 27, 2004. Topics of discussion by the 25 culture ministers included promoting cultural and linguistic diversity through literature and the measures proposed by current Council president, Ireland, for translating and disseminating literary works. They also reviewed an EU paper entitled Making Citizenship Work: Fostering European Culture and Diversity through Programs for Youth, Culture, Audiovisual and Civic Participation. Luxembourg culture minister Erna Hennicot-Schoepges spoke out for maintaining an independent program specifically for culture. Her French counterpart, Mr. De Vabres, described a French proposal for a European action plan to fight copyright and other forms of piracy, notably through public education. He also stressed that further liberalization in advertising in publishing and even partial relaxation of rules in the film sector would essentially benefit industry heavyweights, especially the Americans. “This would not only run counter to cultural diversity, but to the free play of competition. We must not see competition—i.e., market forces—as being at odds with cultural diversity. On the contrary, competition is crucial to a healthy and diverse cultural sector. We must instead set rules governing competition in the cultural sector,” he declared. Mr. De Vabres went on to defend applying the principle of cultural diversity to the European directive on services. But beyond current events, Mr. De Vabres made a case for reflecting on a European strategy for cultural diversity and interchange, arguing that “any strategy must aim to promote cultural diversity.” He also contended that “only Europe can provide us with the means to defend our cultures and languages against unbridled globalization, ensure that globalization proceeds in a manner respectful of cultural diversity, and make intercultural dialog a tool for peace.” He concluded that to achieve these goals, Europe needs an ambitious cultural policy, as set out in the Mémorandum sur la coopération culturelle européenne that France submitted to the EU. (Available in French)