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Future of Europe, where is the culture?

Millesgården Museum,  Stockholm Millesgården Museum,  Stockholm Photo by Luigi Paternoster

The presidents of the Parliament, the Council and the European Commission presented the joint declaration on the conference on the Future of Europe. The Joint Declaration on the Conference on the Future of Europe is very important for European cities and citizens and, in particular, for the European Capital of Culture program. The Declaration, in fact, enhances and strengthens the role of citizens for the dissemination of a European culture that overcomes nationalisms. But the word culture is missing. There is still time to rediscover it.

In the Joint Declaration we find very similar words to those found in the Ecoc bidbooks such as "engaging with citizens for democracy" and "building a more resilient Europe", and in particular "open", "inclusion" and "Future".

These are some passages of the Declaration:

“The Conference on the Future of Europe is a citizens-focused, bottom-up exercise for Europeans to have their say on what they expect from the European Union. It will give citizens a greater role in shaping the Union’s future policies and ambitions, improving its resilience. It will do so through a multitude of Conference-events and debates organised across the Union, as well as through an interactive multilingual digital platform”.

“The scope of the Conference should reflect the areas where the European Union has the competence to act or where European Union action would have been to the benefit of European citizens”.

“We, the Presidents of the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission, aim to give citizens a say on what matters to them.

Reflecting the Strategic Agenda of the European Council, the 2019-2024 Political Guidelines of the European Commission and the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, discussions will cover, amongst others: Building a healthy continent, the fight against climate change and environmental challenges, an economy that works for people, social fairness, equality and intergenerational solidarity, Europe’s digital transformation, European rights and values including the Rule of Law, migration challenges, security, the EU’s role in the world, the Union’s democratic foundations, and how to strengthen democratic processes governing the European Union. Discussions can also cover cross-cutting issues related to the EU’s ability to deliver on policy priorities, such as better regulation, application of subsidiarity and proportionality, implementation and enforcement of the acquis and transparency. The scope of the Conference should reflect the areas where the European Union has the competence to act or where European Union action would have been to the benefit of European citizens. Citizens remain free to raise additional issues that matter to them”.

The latter is a very important opportunity for Ecoc.

Perhaps the big absentee in this document is culture. Perhaps a session of the Conference should be dedicated to culture and how the European capitals of culture, of the past, of the present and of the future, can strengthen and enhance their role. Culture is the best strategy for achieving exactly those goals. Will the Ecoc be able to make their presence felt?

The Joint Declaration here.

Serafino Paternoster

Ecocnews Founder, Journalist, repentant jazz guitarist, music critic and film lover.

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