Berliner Konferenz "A soul for Europe"

26 August 2005

The Berlin Conference “A Soul for Europe”, by bringing together more than 300 political, cultural and administrative leaders of Europe, initiated a process for placing sustainable cultural growth at the heart of the European project. “In the hierarchy of values”, in the words of Commission President Barroso, “the cultural ones range above the economic ones”. From November 26 to November 28, the Brandenburg Gate served as the symbolic backdrop for the BERLIN CONFERENCE FOR EUROPEAN CULTURAL POLICY. Scheduled in the year of the epoch-making expansion of the European Union, the signing of the European constitution, at the start of the newly elected European Parliament's term and a new European Commission, the Conference intended to act as a stimulus to make cultural policy a more powerful element of European policy. The Berlin Process aims at setting up mechanisms in place to monitor and report on the progress of the European institutions and Member States in implementing concrete initiatives and in investing significantly in the European cultural space. Supported by Germany’s Federal Cultural Foundation and sponsored by the Forum Zukunft Berlin e.V., the Study Group “Berlin Conference for European Cultural Policy” worked out a rich programme: large group of speakers participated in deep discussions on three themes: 1. "Europe in the world" 2. "The Substance of European Cultures and their use: what is already there, what is lacking, what is to be done?" 3. "Why Europe? The further process" Most distinguished speakers including the new President of the European Commission, Josè Manuel Barroso, Richard v. Weizsäcker, former German President, Gerhard Schröder, German chancellor, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, former German minister for foreign affairs, Jan Figel, Commissioner for Culture and Joschka Fischer, to name but a few of them, participated in the different discussion rounds. Please read Barroso's speech “Europe and Culture”. First conclusions of the conference have been handed over during the closing reception on November 27 to the Ambassador of the Royal Netherlands representing the Dutch EU presidency. The document has been drafted immediately after the conference. You can download it via the following link. At the conclusion of the Berlin Conference, the ministers of culture from Poland, France and Germany have signed a declaration in which they claim a European Charta for Culture. The European Festivals Association will be part of the 'Berlin Process': an agreement has already been made to involve EFA closely in the follow-up of this conference.