Oana Mateescu on Fri, 7 Jun 2002 15:59:14 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-ro] European Union: Culture 2000

Title: European Union: Culture 2000

The Culture 2000 programme (which is due to expire in 2004) should be extended for two more years without any major changes. EU Culture Ministers gathered for a Council session in Brussels on May 23 backed a suggestion to this end from the European Commission, which was keenly supported by the Spanish Presidency. Ministers went on to adopt a Resolution on the conservation of digital content and a Resolution establishing a work plan on cultural co-operation. On audiovisual policy, the session included a debate on options for the revision of the Television Without Frontiers (TWF) Directive. Here again, the Commission's preferred option, which consists of tackling amendments to the EU's broadcasting Directive at some later date and after due consideration of all the alternatives, was supported by a majority of Ministers. The debate was described as "calm" by Viviane Reding, the Commissioner responsible for Culture and Audiovisual Policy, and Pilar del Castillo Vera, Spain's Culture Minister, who chaired the session.
Rolling over Culture 2000. EU enlargement, the review of the medium-term financial perspective and the future Inter-Governmental Conference on institutional reform are all grey areas which, according to the Commission, justify the extension of the Culture 2000 programme - the Community's sole funding instrument in the area of culture - until 2006, without any major modifications. Only the "failings noted in the current programme" are liable to be scrapped. A more ambitious programme might subsequently be envisaged. It is not impossible that institutional reforms might result in the withdrawal of Article 151 of the Treaty (culture), which significantly holds back cultural action by the Community, as it submits legislative measures to co-decision between the Parliament and Council and to the unanimity in the Council.
In addition, the mid-term report on the application of the Culture 2000 programme, which the Commission will publish at the end of the year, should provide an insight into the first results of this initiative. The Commission proposes to bring forward a proposal on the extension of the current programme until 2006, subject to a number of arrangements. The budgetary allocation should be based on that of the current programme, which has been granted Euro 167 million for five years (an average of Euro 33.4 million per year). Pilot actions designed to test novel ideas promoting cultural co-operation will also be launched by 2006 (notably in the area of music). Before the end of its mandate, the Commission will propose a new programme in the light of sound reflection and developments on the institutional level over the intervening period.
Cultural co-operation. The Resolution on the work plan on co-operation in the area of culture offers an indicative list of themes:

*    the analysis and development of methods for determining and assessing the added value of European actions on culture;
*    the accessibility and visibility of cultural action by the European Community through improvements in the dissemination of information
*    horizontal aspects, i.e. enhancing synergies with other sectors and Community actions (education, training, youth, competition, regional development, research, information and communication technologies)
*    dialogue between cultures: promotion and dissemination of cultural diversity
*    co-operation between Member States and participation of new Member States: drafting of strategies designed to accelerate the integration and participation of new Member States
*    enhancing co-operation with the international organisations concerned (Council of Europe, UNESCO, etc).
Digital heritage. In its Resolution on the conservation of digital heritage, the Council proposes to conduct an in-depth analysis of a series of objectives and measures, notably:
- the establishment of co-operation frameworks and mechanisms between Member States with a view to exchanging experience
- support for the conservation organisations concerned (libraries, museums, etc.)
- study of organisational infrastructure and technical standards required to promote stable and compatible networks for certified preserved content
- study of appropriate investment and analysis of costs and the impact of current and future funding, as well as potential synergies between public and private funding.