Angela Merkel, Chancelière allemande, le 2 novembre 2005 – 2005/12/02
The latest edition of Relatio – l’Europe en revue reports on comments by Germany’s new chancellor Angela Merkel, who declared that despite budget constraints, culture should not be the poor cousin of the new German government. “Our culture is the cornerstone of [social] cohesion, which is why my government doesn’t see cultural promotion as a subsidy [….] but rather as an investment that helps make Germany a pleasant place to live.” Echoing the chancellor’s words, Germany’s new minister of culture Bernd Neumann emphasized the importance of promoting culture. “We need the cultural specialists in all the parliamentary groups to spell out the importance of culture and its promotion. An all-party cultural coalition would be a strong signal in this regard.”
In its first cultural initiative, the Merkel government also announced plans to encourage private investor support for the film industry in order to improve production conditions and enjoyment of culture. And at the European and international levels, the government expressed its hopes for “agreements that protect cultural diversity, prevent culture from being reduced to a simple commodity, and leave the nation—including the communes and Lander—the freedom and the space for action so crucial to sustaining cultural diversity.”
Germany’s initiative follows closely on the adoption of the UNESCO Convention on the diversity of cultural expressions and coincides with the debut of a vast campaign to push for its ratification. Alongside France and the European Union, Germany has been a consistent advocate of the convention.