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Culturelink review, no.36/April 2002 - contents - imprint - archive

The Unity of Diversities - Cultural Co-operation in the European Union

Edited by the Parliamentary Group of the PSE, European Parliament, Firenze, Angelo Pontecorboli Editore, 2001, 112 pp, ISBN 88 85207 94 4

The publication The Unity of Diversities contains the Working Paper Preliminary to the Initiative Report on Cultural Co-operation in the European Union, submitted by Giorgio Ruffolo in May 2001 and the Resolution adopted in the European Parliament on 5th September 2001. The so-called 'Ruffolo Report' represents an important reference point for European policy makers, practitioners, cultural operators and researchers.

In his introduction, Giorgio Ruffolo explains the background of this document and offers several reasons for drafting this report. First of all, he speaks about poorly co-ordinated EU cultural programmes, especially those covered by Culture 2000 and those financed by Structural Funds. He also mentions the void that exists between programmes managed at the EU level and national cultural policies.

The report itself tries to offer an account of existing policies and programmes, both on the level of the EU and within the member states, thus describing the concept of 'Unity in Diversities', as well as past activities of the Council of Europe and the European Union. The central part of the report is devoted to cultural policies in the member states covering the most important aspects of mutual co-operation, such as the institutional organisation of cultural policy, public financing, or the role of the private sector. Even though the cultural activities of the European Union are based on the principle of subsidiarity, this report includes some sectors in which there is a space for closer co-operation between national policies and Union action. These areas are: the expansion, strengthening and informatisation of cultural networking; the design of concordant policies in the context of exchanges with other major areas in the world; raising the profile and reinforcing the role of European culture in the world, deploying the new media for the greater enhancement of our common heritage; and the dissemination of the more advanced cultural policy models and tools experimentally tried by individual countries. These include, for example, new planning methods, new management tools, new forms of partnership engaging the public and private sectors and associations, and new forms of linkage between culture and other policies, such as social, educational, research and environmental policies. The Resolution on Cultural co-operation in the European Union stresses that culture is an essential component of EU identity and calls for the strengthening of EU actions in the field of culture on all levels, from local, regional and national government to the level of the Union and the Commission itself.

The publication also contains a condensed version of the results published in the Study on Cultural Policies of the Member States of the European Union by Directorate General IV - Research of the European Parliament, an Appendix, which contains tables illustrating the comparative results generated by the study.

At the end of the publications, the reader can find several contributions by the Chairman and members of the Committee on Culture, Youth, Education, the Media and Sport, by leading figures and experts in the sector, and by some of the members of the working group that helped draft the Working Paper.

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The EC launches the ALliance for the Information Society @LIS with Latin America

In December 2001 the European Commission launched a major co-operation programme 'ALliance for the Information Society' (@LIS) with Latin America. It aims at establishing dialogue and co-operation on policy and regulatory frameworks in key areas for the development of a widespread information society, such as telecommunications, e-commerce and standardisation, and at boosting interconnections between research networks and communities in both regions. The horizontal programme is administered by the EuropeAid Co-operation Office.

Other objectives of @LIS include interconnections between research networks and communities in both regions and several innovative take-up projects in Latin America designed to demonstrate the benefits of Information Society applications to citizens in four main thematic areas: e-inclusion, e-learning (including education and cultural diversity), public health, and local governance.

The @LIS programme will be endowed with some 85 million euro, of which up to 63.5 million euro will be financed by the European Commission and 21.5 million by Latin American and EU partners participating in the programme. The official launch will take place at the '@LIS Take-off Conference' in Seville (Spain) in April 2002.

For more information, please visit: http://europa.eu.int/information_society/international/latin/alis/index_en.htm

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Handbook Austria: Culture and EU Structural Funds (1995-1999)

Published by InfoRelais, Austria, 2001

InfoRelais, an Austrian organisation specialized in the field of EU-funding and regional cultural development, has published a study about the use of EU Structural Funds for cultural projects in Austria. Handbook Austria: Culture and EU Structural Funds (1995-1999) comprises the results of a survey conducted in Austria last year.

For the first time this study gives a complete survey of all cultural regional development projects. Not only does it bring the relevant statistics regarding funding programmes, but also presents various projects individually, with brief explanations of the projects and contact addresses.

The Austrian cultural and culture-related projects which received support from the EU Structural Funds between 1995 and 1999 included media projects as well as projects in the field of culture and employment, cultural tourism and cultural infrastructure.

Nearly 23 million euro, which is 1.4% of the total available Structural Funds in Austria, was spent on cultural projects. In total, more than 600 projects were co-financed from these funds.

The study is written in German, but it has an English summary of the results. The price of the publication is 18.17 euro plus postal charges.

To order this publication, please contact: Ms. Sylvia Amman, InfoRelais, Bahnhofstrasse 12, A-4230 Pregarten, Austria, tel.: +43 676 602 7468, fax: +43 7235 505 504; e-mail: office@inforelais.org; http://www.inforelais.org