At the initiative of the European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity, cultural professionals throughout Europe have addressed an open letter to European Commission president José Manuel Barroso stressing the urgent need to support cultural creativity and diversity in Europe.
Regarding cultural diversity, the letter reads in part:
“It is a paradoxical situation: never has there been so much talk in Europe of the potential of the cultural and creative industries, and so little support for implementing policies that would defend and promote cultural diversity. While the challenges generated in particular by the digital age demand ambitious responses, European political action instead sinks into renunciation, even denial. Signing the UNESCO Convention on cultural diversity has not prompted the European Commission to automatically exclude audiovisual and cultural services from its trade negotiations.”
Cultural professionals are calling on the EC and its president “to return to a consistent and forceful path of action in promoting cultural diversity”:
“As the public debt crisis has led most European states to pare back their budgets for culture and the arts, Europe has a greater role than ever to play—a decisive role even—in protecting and promoting cultural diversity […].”
Professionals are asking the European Commission and its president to “refuse to use culture as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations […] in order to bring its policies in line with its rhetoric […].”
Numerous European cultural personalities have already signed the open letter to Mr. Barroso.
For the list of signatories and more information, please visit the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity website.
The European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity is an informal network of 13 national associations representing diversity in professional cultural organizations. They encourage European institutions to adopt a European policy more favorable to culture and the diversity of cultural expressions.