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Cultural Cooperation and Promotion Abroad

Culture in Europe

"The Union shall contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States, while respecting their national and regional diversity and at the same time bringing the common cultural heritage to the fore." (art. 167.1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

"The Union shall take cultural aspects into account in its action under other provisions of this Treaty, in particular in order to respect and to promote the diversity of its cultures." (art. 167.4 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

Culture has become driving a force behind the construction of the European Union, the link needed to establish a true European citizenry. Cultural activities, linguistic diversity and common cultural heritage have acquired ever greater weight in successive treaties.

The European Union promotes the dissemination of cultural activity through the Cultura [Culture] and MEDIA programmes, which will be replaced in 2014 by the Europa Creativa [Creative Europe] Programme and other more specific actions and programmes aimed at specific aspects (such as the European Heritage Label, the European Capital of Culture, etc.), defining the cultural actions to be carried out in EU member states.

EU action in the field of culture is defined at the ordinary meetings of the Councils of Ministers for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, held twice a year.

Within the European Union, the sub-Directorate General for Cultural Promotion Abroad works with the Sub-Directorate General for International Cooperation of the sub-Secretariat of the Department to monitor the cultural activities of the European Union Councils of Ministers of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport in order to shape Spain's cultural policy guidelines in the Cultural Affairs Committees drawn up by said Councils. It also collaborates with the European Commission Directorate General for Education and Culture and disseminates EU information on culture among the different management units of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport to spread knowledge of the Spanish cultural and creative sector, participating in the management committees of the main cultural programmes.

Culture in Europe is also strongly promoted by the Council of Europe, the objectives of which include the dissemination of European cultural heritage and raising awareness among citizens of their shared values in order to foster mutual understanding and create a feeling of belonging and a shared European identity, particularly towards non-EU European countries, with initiatives such as the Programa Itinerarios Culturales [Cultural Itineraries Programme].

The European cultural itineraries, developed following the pioneering example of the emblematic Way of St. James, facilitate the establishment of networks with cultural affinities.

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