Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

The 171st UNESCO Executive Board and the European Community’s participation in the upcoming negotiations on the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

UNESCO, Paris, 17 March 2005 – 2005/03/27

At the 171st UNESCO Executive Board session which will be held, as agreed, April 12-28, 2005 in Paris, UNESCO will vote on adopting a draft decision allowing the European Community to actively participate, on behalf of the European Community, in the upcoming negotiations on the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The draft is item 60 on the agenda, at the request of Luxembourg on behalf of Member States of the European Union. Those require to the Executive Board to authorize the participation of the European Community by extending to it the following rights : to have the right to speak, to reply, to put forward proposals and amendments at the formal meetings; to be permitted to take part in committees, working groups, formal and informal meetings; to have its own nameplate. The right to vote is not included.

It should be noted that at present, the European Community is an observer in UNESCO. However, The rights that UNESCO attaches to observers do not allow the European Commission to fully negotiate on behalf of the European Community, and to be able to safeguard its interests, given the European Community’s wish to become a Party to the Convention. In addition, the Treaty establishing the European Community provides that in the areas pertaining to Community competences, in particular to exclusive competence, the Member States of the European Community are no longer entitled to negotiate and to undertake individually or collectively, international obligations. Moreover , some of the envisaged provisions of the preliminary UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions have a direct impact on the exclusive competence of the European Community. A number of other areas of the Convention fall within shared competences between the Community and its Member States. It is therefore because considering the extent of Community competences covered by the draft Convention, the Council of the European Community adopted, in November 2004, negotiating directives authorizing the European Commission to conduct, on behalf of the Community, the negotiation of the Convention. [05-07]