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Press release from the European Commission, on the final conference of the Preparatory Action, on 7-8 April 2014.

How can the European Union and its Member States maximize the impact of culture in foreign policy? Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, addresses this question today at a meeting involving policy makers, cultural organisations, artists and academics from 54 European and non-European countries.

“Culture is a vital part of our collective European identity and helps to underpin our shared values such as respect for human rights, diversity and equality. Cultural diplomacy is an opportunity for us to share these values and our European culture with other countries. Developing a more active and dynamic role for European culture on the international stage is one of my key priorities. Used intelligently, I believe this ‘soft power’ can benefit the EU and its Member States in their relations with the wider world.” said Androulla Vassiliou prior to this conference.

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Press release from the Preparatory Action “Culture in the EU’s External Relations”, on the final conference, on 7-8 April 2014.

A consortium of independent experts and eight cultural institutes and organisations, supporting the Preparatory Action “Culture in EU External Relations”, has found that the European Union needs to define a cultural relations – or “soft power” – strategy, so that Europe can maximise its influence and attraction in the rest of the world.

Lead expert for the consortium, Prof. Yudhishthir Raj Isar, “EU institutions, national cultural relations agencies and cultural civil society need to work together to build a ‘joined up’ international cultural relations strategy based on the values of reciprocity, mutuality and shared responsibility in a spirit of global cultural citizenship. Such a strategy requires political will, an enabling framework and commitment. It also has to be adequately funded under the European Union’s budget and implemented mainly by cultural professionals.”

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