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Home arrow Political science arrow Cultural Governance and the European Union: Protecting and Promoting Cultural Diversity in Europe


This chapter has charted how the implicit cultural logic of European economic integration, with its values of openness and tolerance, has gradually been rendered explicit within the constitutional framework of the EU. Respect for cultural diversity is now a fundamental value of the Union, formally enshrined within Articles 22 CFR, 3(3) TEU and 167 TFEU, as well as informally in the Union's motto 'united in diversity'. It is apparent, however, that further work needs to be done to clarify what these rather abstract terms mean in practice and to engage directly with their internal tensions and potentially far-reaching policy implications, particularly at a time of growing Euroscepticism. The goals of enhancing cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue also informed the EU's early culture programmes developed under Article 167 TFEU. The pronounced economic and technological emphasis in the recent Creative Europe programme, however, raises the question whether Article 167 TFEU has become the basis for what is in effect an industrial policy for Europe's cultural and creative sectors, rather than a cultural policy for the EU. The EU's role in 'supporting' domestic cultural policies under Article 167 TFEU is arguably now more pronounced than that of 'supplementing' them.

Where does this leave Europe's more aspirational cultural goals if not directly pursued under Article 167 TFEU? As noted, economic integration can go a long way in helping in their realisation but at times of economic crisis, pressure on jobs and resources tend to exacerbate tensions rather than ameliorate them; the market has its limits. This is why additions to the founding treaties, such as Article 19 TFEU, which allow a wider range of discriminatory actions to be tackled; the establishment of the Fundamental Rights Agency; ascription of Treaty status to the CFR and coordination with the CoE are all so important. Importantly, too, a number of programmes linked to EU citizenship seek to underline basic human and democratic values and remind Europeans of the horrors of the Second World War, in response to which the EEC was founded.24 Europe was never intended to be simply an economic project but we may currently need to look outside Article 167 TFEU to remind us that this continues to be so.

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