Preparatory Action’s expert and author of 14 of the 26 country reports Damien Helly gives his perspectives on the use of culture use in EU external relations. Culture creates trust, and less regulation of the web should be prioritised, he states.
What is the potential added value of a strategic approach to culture?
“Today’s international affairs have an increasingly significant cultural dimension: they relate to translation and language learning, cultural differences and mutual understanding, avoid violence and conflict, the use of social media and global web-based technology, the weight of cultural and creative industries in global value chains. In other words, culture is the golden thread of trust in international relations. Without trust, you don’t smile, laugh and love or find something touching and beautiful, you don’t make friends, you don’t make business, you hardly make peace.”
What is needed to strengthen the role of culture in international relations?
“I see a set of aspects, which can be strengthened:
A) Europeans must spend more time listening to what their colleagues of the cultural sector abroad need from them, and less time in procedures to manage their effective response to these needs.
B) European states would benefit from more frequent and deepened joint cultural initiatives abroad and could act as unique enabling powers for peace and trust in the world.
C) More translation at all levels of external relations would make everybody’s life easier. The EU should invest massively in a European translation facility at the disposal of the world, as a common public good.
D) Less borders for cultural professionals, more freedom on the web, free and fair regulation of the internet, respect for cultural and linguistic diversity.
E) There ought to be a Worldwide Cultural European Radio Service, as one channel of a new European digital diplomacy. European broadcasting agencies should get together to deepen their co-production into a European initiative.”