Inclusive Europe? Horizon 2020 concluded with remarkable contributions

28 November 2005

The Budapest conference has been concluded successfully on Saturday, 19 November 2005 after three intense days of debate, discussion and deliberation on the immense contribution of culture in reviving the European vision and its power to foster social inclusion; because, as repeatedly expressed at various levels and now again by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, the question is not anymore what Europe does for culture but what culture does for Europe. The conference organized by the Hungarian ministry of cultural heritage in co-operation with EFAH, the Kultúr Pont and the Budapest Observatory held what it promised: to follow on the spirit created by the Berliner Konferenz and the Paris Conference in May 2005 and to underline again the importance of cultural co-operation and intercultural dialogue in the European project of an ever-closer Union of peoples. Much symbolism was followed by a lot of realism and activism, as Jàn Figel’, European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism wished it to be in his opening address. With more than a dozen ministers participating as well as high level European officials and hundreds of cultural operators and professionals, the conference created an outstanding opportunity for exchange and debate on the future of the European project: How would Europe be in 2020? How can Europe solve problems of inclusion, social cohesion and intercultural dialogue? How can access, equity, participation and voice in the process of “cultural democratization” be enhanced? Answers to those and other crucial questions including the mobility of the arts and the artists, the sustainability of cultural co-operation, cultural democratization have been looked at and put in words at various plenary meetings throughout the three days. The French Minister of culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres highlighted seven measures to put culture again at the heart of the European project including the promotion of European films, a fond for the subtitling of films, set up a European network of libraries, create a label “European heritage”, create a platform for the promotion of European music etc. His whole speech is downloadable here. David Lammy, Minister for Culture in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, UK, underlined, on behalf of the British EU Presidency, the immensely important role culture needs to play in the frame of the inclusion of minorities and questions related to social cohesion. Artists including the Nobel price winner Author Imre Kertéz from Budapst, Alain Touraine, Sociologist and Director of Studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales at Paris and Gerard Mortier, Director of the Opera National de Paris addressed their points of view on the role of culture in the future of Europe. Various workshops on cultural democracy, the challenge of configuring a national and a European ‘we’, settings and mechanisms for the nurturing and development of effectively inclusive environments for cultural expression, production and exchange offered more opportunities to the participants to discuss and fill the different themes with details more in depth. A separate working group on cities and regions, set up by the Berliner Konferenz, concluded with the presentation of the initiative “A Soul for Europe” which intends, at a two years basis, to contribute to the development to make a Europe of Europeans, and not just a Europe of institutions, administrations and regulations. To read more about the initiative and the various steps and action measures, please click here. More details on the contents of the whole conference and its conclusions which we are awaiting very soon are available at the at the Inclusive Europe website. Please come back from time to time as more press releases and abstracts of speeches will be posted very soon. Granada in Spain will be hosting city of the next conference in this row.