Cultural diversity

Publications and Studies

The Council of Europe recommends to its Member States to ratify the UNESCO Convention, and the European Commission intends to be an active party to this Convention and will in turn ratify it, 2006/02/06

In a recommendation adopted last February 1, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, "recommends that, at the earliest opportunity, Council of Europe member states ratify, accept, approve or accede to the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions". The Council of Europe includes 46 member states.

In other respects, the European Commission officially invited last December 21, its 25 Member States to ratify this Convention "in the best possible times". The Commission did recall that it had received mandate to negotiate at UNESCO in the name of the EU and that Member States, on their part, were equally represented by their Minister ad hoc of the Council of Europe. Raising the principle of shared competence, the European Commission intends to be an active party to the Convention and will in turn ratify it. But, this ratification will not be accounted within the required minimum of 30 for the Convention to become effective. In that, it calls upon the good "coherence" of this Convention together with other political instruments of the Union, in matters of cooperation, development, common trade policy, audiovisual policy as well as cultural action.

If the UNESCO Convention did not make provision for ratifications time limit it is known that Canada is the very first country – and the only one at this time - to have actually ratified it. However, « France has promised it for next March, the Northern countries for summer, Belgium like other countries will need one year. But several countries, Eastern ones namely, do not yet have their own complete translation. ».

Another challenge, as is underlined, is to the effect that the required minimum of 30 signatory countries be truly representative of the world scope and of its cultural mosaic». So, in its official statement the European Commission incites the 25 to communicate with their third countries and invite them to the ratification.

It is also acknowledged that the Southern countries had requested an "International Fund for Cultural Diversity" to support their developing film industries. It was agreed upon in as much as contributions should remain voluntary. In this respect, some countries such as Belgium, have already anticipated to steer anew their assistance or their existing cooperation agreements through this specific fund.