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Debating Soft Power and Cultural Cooperation in the EU

14-06-2012 09:25:00

As part of the Danish EU Presidency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Ministry of Culture are hosting a ‘Meeting of Cultural Directors’ from 13-15 June. The meeting involves senior officials from member and candidate countries' ministries of culture and ministries of foreign affairs responsible for cultural affairs and public diplomacy. The meeting will contribute to the formulation of a comprehensive European strategy for culture and has a special focus on the relationship between the EU and China.

How is the EU perceived in China and what does culture mean in the relationship between Europe and China? These are some of the questions that will be debated during the Cultural Directors’ meeting in Copenhagen. Based on inputs from people such as the editor of the international magazine Monocle, Tyler Brûlé, as well as Danish and international experts on China, the meeting will contribute an important step towards the elaboration of a comprehensive and strategic approach to cultural cooperation with China. Together, EU countries hold a sizeable portion of soft power, which is based on a strong sharing of common values and Europe's rich cultural diversity.

Europe's soft power is an important element of EU relations with the rest of the world and thus plays a part in shaping the EU's reputation and political space. With the establishment of the European External Action Service, the question is what role culture can play in EU foreign policy and the daily exercise of union interests.

At the beginning of 2012, an EU expert group was commissioned on the initiative of the European Commission to formulate a draft EU strategy on cultural cooperation with China. The expert group is composed of representatives from member countries' ministries of culture and ministries of foreign affairs and was established on the basis of a recommendation recently made at the Cultural Directors meeting in Lublin in October 2011.

The special focus on China reflects the latest development in relations between the EU and China. The year 2012 has been recognised as the Euro-Chinese intercultural year of dialogue. The expert group focuses on the cultural relations between China and EU, but the work process also aims to shed light on the role that cultural diplomacy and cultural cooperation in general can play in EU external relations.

The expert group has held two meetings in Brussels so far. The Cultural Directors meeting in Copenhagen represents a kind of stocktaking of the group's work so far. Two more meetings are scheduled before the final report to the member states is expected to be submitted towards the end of the year.

The Cultural Directors meeting is organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture in close cooperation with the EU Commission.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Hans Christian Aaskov
Mobil: +45 4186 5924

Flemming Johannesen
Mobil: +45 5077 8632

Ministry of Culture 

Karin Marcussen
Mobil: +45 2243 7044

Astrid Haug
Mobil : +45 2547 2107