Commission of the European Community , Brussels, 17 November 2004 - 2004/11/17
The Education and Culture Council of 15 and 16 November has authorised the European Commission to represent the European Community and its Member States in negotiations on the UNESCO convention on cultural diversity . The aim of this convention is «to recognise states' rights and specify their duties in preserving and promoting cultural diversity and to establish a framework favouring international cooperation in this area.» As of now, the European Commission will participate in these negotiations on behalf of the European Community. The mandate adopted by the Council requires the Commission to ensure that the future convention is consistent with the acquis and the relevant Community policies, to ensure the primacy of Community law over the convention's provisions within the European Union and to enable the European Community to become a contracting party to the future convention. Already on 15 November, the European Union submitted an initial set of comments on the draft convention to UNESCO.
Key points raised include : The overarching role of compliance with human rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by international law; the Convention shall in no way weaken human rights and fundamental freedoms in the name of culture or tradition; The recognition of the specific and dual (cultural and economic) nature of cultural goods and services; The recognition of the role of public policies in safeguarding and promoting cultural diversity and the sovereign right of States and other relevant public authorities in this respect; The importance of international cooperation to face cultural vulnerabilities, in particular vis-à-vis developing countries; The need for an adequate articulation with other international instruments and bodies allowing for a fully effective implementation of the Convention while preserving legal certainty as regards international obligations, under the Convention as well as under other international . (Available also in French and English)