On November 20, 2008 in Brussels, French Minister of Culture and Communications Christine Albanel presided over a meeting of the European Union’s Council of Ministers for Culture and Audiovisual Affairs. At the meeting, the ministers adopted a number of important texts negotiated by the French presidency in recent months.
According to a press release from the French Ministry of Culture and Communications, “[…] the ministers will support and ensure the longevity and development of the European digital library project.” The project, launched on November 20 by the council in the presence of European Commission president José Manuel Barroso, has already provided universal access (at www.europeana.eu) to 2 million documents including books, written and audiovisual archives, and collections from European museums. This portal “[…] is a testimony to Europe’s ability to mobilize and put new technology at the service of culture while taking concrete steps to protect cultural and linguistic diversity,” explains the press release.
The ministers also adopted the European heritage label project, “a French initiative dedicated to highlighting the European dimension of sites that will bear the label in order to encourage a feeling of belonging on the part of European citizens to a shared European identity.”
The press release also stated that the ministers adopted the conclusions on the promotion of intercultural dialogue and cultural and linguistic diversity in relations outside of the European Union, “the goal of which is to reinforce the role of culture in relations with third party countries and the global spread of European cultural and audiovisual goods and services.”
Furthermore, the press release adds that “multilingualism is obviously an important aspect of cultural diversity, […] that’s why the ministers for cultural and audiovisual affairs stressed the truly cultural aspect of multilingualism following the September 26 general assembly on multilingualism held in Paris. […] It was their hope that, within the framework of the European strategy in favor of multilingualism to be adopted tomorrow by the council of ministers in charge of education, the member states would be invited, with the Commission’s support, to coordinate and reinforce their actions in favor of the translation and subtitling of performance arts, audiovisual work, and films.” A feasibility study will be carried out on a specific support program for translation.
Please consult the full text of the French Ministry of Culture and Communications press release for more information on the full results of the recent council meeting.