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Culture’s role in EU development cooperation


Council Conclusions on culture’s role in the EU’s external relations



  • They highlight the importance of culture as a tool for dealing with non-EU countries, particularly in the context of development.
  • They also invite EU countries and the European Commission to take concrete steps towards incorporating culture as a specific dimension when dealing with non-EU countries in the context of development.


  • While culture is already recognised as a key element of sustainable development, a more integrated approach should be developed which takes into account, for example:
    • strengthening efforts to safeguard the world’s cultural heritage;
    • support for a long-term development of cultural and creative sectors in non-EU partner countries;
    • complementarity between existing programmes and financing schemes.
  • EU countries and the European Commission are encouraged to participate in an ad-hoc task group hosted by the Luxembourg government. This will contribute to the preparation of a concrete, evidence-based, shared and long-term approach on culture and development cooperation. The group will meet for the initial period of 2016-2017 and results will be presented to the concerned bodies of the Council of the EU (notably culture and development cooperation).
  • The European Commission, jointly with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, is encouraged to develop and present a more strategic approach to culture in external relations.


Cultural and creative sectors, including cultural heritage, can contribute to poverty reduction, conflict prevention and reconciliation whilst encouraging growth, employment, social cohesion and local development. Moreover, an independent cultural and media sector is a fundamental component of a democratic society.

Culture in the EU’s external relations, including in the context of development, is one of the priorities of the EU’s Culture work plan (2015-2018).


Council Conclusions on culture in the EU’s external relations with a focus on culture in development cooperation (OJ C 417, 15.12.2015, pp. 41-43)

last update 31.05.2016