13 May 2019

What is next for International Cultural Relations?

Culture in EU External Relations: Strategic Reflections and Future Scenarios

The European Leadership in Cultural, Science and Innovation Diplomacy (EL-CSID) is an EU-funded project that analyses the relevance of cultural, science and innovation diplomacy for EU external relations, locating developments in these fields in the evolving global context.

This advocacy paper, released by EL-CSID and written by Riccardo Trobbiani and Andrea Pavón-Guinea, discusses the future of EU international cultural relations. This future will depend upon factors that are both internal and external to the EU. Hard power seems to be gaining prominence over soft power and persuasion. Uses of soft power (and propaganda) persist in the framework of identity politics, where culture is increasingly regarded as a set of national features defined in oppositions to others, rather than a tool for dialogue and cooperation.

The foresight analysis presented in this paper points at a key finding: investing in stronger EU cooperation in International Cultural Relations, rather than Cultural Diplomacy, remains the best solution for EU leadership. An EU strategic approach to ICR rooted in development policy and inter-cultural dialogue bears the promise to facilitate cooperation among EU institutions, member states and their cultural institutes, as well as broader cultural networks based on innovative models. However, a series of criticalities could potentially affect this emerging policy, which calls for some recommendations on the process and content of the approach under development.

  • Find the complete study here.