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European Year of Intercultural Dialogue (2008)

Given the successive enlargements of the European Union (EU) and the increased mobility of its citizens, the EU countries’ role in allowing culture to flourish has become essential. In this spirit, the EU is to create means by which to raise awareness of and promote the cultural sphere, with a view to encouraging EU inhabitants to manage cultural diversity. Consequently, the Commission has proposed that 2008 is declared as the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue.


Decision No 1983/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue (2008).


With this decision, the year 2008 is hereby declared as the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. The main aim of the Year is to raise the profile of intercultural dialogue, which is essential for creating respect for cultural diversity, improving coexistence in today’s diverse societies and encouraging active European citizenship.

The initiative also reflects a number of priorities defined under the Lisbon Strategy, as intercultural dialogue may contribute to the achievement of these economic objectives. For example, the knowledge-based economy needs people who can adapt to change and take advantage of all possible sources of innovation.


The European Year of Intercultural Dialogue seeks to increase the visibility, efficiency and coherence of all European programmes and actions that contribute to intercultural dialogue, such as the Europe for Citizens 2007-13 and the “Culture” programme. This initiative also aims at integrating, as far as possible, intercultural dialogue into other European policies, actions and programmes.

The general objectives of the Year focus on:

  • promoting intercultural dialogue;
  • highlighting the opportunities intercultural dialogue provide for a diverse society;
  • raising awareness of the value of active citizenship;
  • emphasising the contribution diversity makes to the heritage of European Union (EU) countries.


The Year is mainly aimed at EU countries. However, complementarity between the Year and all external strands of the initiative to promote intercultural dialogue will be ensured. In particular, the Commission will aim at involving EU candidate countries in the activities of the Year.


The Commission gives this initiative European impetus, pointing out that it is by no means limited to action at national level.

The Year will focus on the following types of actions:

  • actions at European level, which consist of information and promotion campaigns, surveys and studies, and consultations with relevant stakeholders;
  • symbolic actions at European level to raise awareness, particularly among young people, of the objectives of the Year, which are eligible for a European grant to cover 80% of the total cost;
  • actions at national level that have a strong European dimension and are eligible for European aid of up to 50% of the total cost.

Non-financial support is planned in the form of authorisation to use the logo and other materials associated with the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. This support will be provided for initiatives undertaken by public and private bodies, provided that they can assure the Commission that the initiatives in question are likely to contribute significantly towards achieving the objectives of the Year.

The European Year of Intercultural Dialogue is run on a budget allocation estimated at 10 million euros.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision No 1983/2006/EC



OJ L 412 of 30.12.2006


Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 6 July 2010 – Evaluation of the 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue [COM(2010) 361 final – Not published in the Official Journal]. This report provides an evaluation of the relevance, external coherence, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of the 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. In general, the Year was perceived as relevant to the needs of stakeholders and to the challenges linked to cultural diversity. It was also coherent with existing programmes and policies, which was most apparent at the international and European levels. The allocated resources were efficiently managed, largely due to the dual approach taken to implement the Year. The activities, including those funded from complementary resources by EU countries, attained the objectives set for the Year.

While the Year increased general awareness of intercultural dialogue, mobilised a large number of stakeholders and produced numerous relevant activities, its impact on the attitudes of the general public, in mobilising different policy sectors and in initiating structural changes to administrations remained less significant.

As a follow-up to the Year, the Commission and EU countries are recommended to take action to:

  • continue supporting structured dialogue with civil society;
  • build on the results of the Year, including in relation to future European Years;
  • further research the impact of intercultural dialogue, especially in schools;
  • carry on with the work begun in the educational sector;
  • promote the transfer of learning from the Year;
  • set up a framework for monitoring and reporting on progress made in intercultural dialogue;
  • strengthen the position of intercultural dialogue in EU programmes;
  • further cooperate with relevant international organisations;
  • improve the involvement of under-represented sectors, such as disadvantaged groups.

Last updated: 12.10.2010