Essentials on EU Cultural Policy

Here we outline the main policy documents that form EU cultural policy. For a more in-depth look at EU cultural policy, also check out our webinars on the topic from September 2022 and May 2019.

New European Agenda for Culture

The New European Agenda for Culture was adopted on 22 May 2018 and proposes to:

• harness the power of culture and cultural diversity for social cohesion and wellbeing, by promoting cultural participation, mobility of artists and protection of heritage

• support jobs and growth in the cultural and creative sectors, by promoting arts and culture in education, boosting relevant skills, and encouraging innovation in culture

• strengthen international cultural relations, by making the most of the potential of culture to foster sustainable development and peace

Text of the New European Agenda for Culture

Report by the European Parliament on the Implementation of the New European Agenda for Culture and the EU Strategy for International Cultural Relations

Work Plan for Culture 2019-2022

The Council conclusion on the Work Plan for Culture 2019-2022 were published on 20 November 2018 and include five priorities:

A. Sustainability in cultural heritage
B. Cohesion and well-being
C. An ecosystem supporting artists, cultural and creative professionals and European content
D. Gender equality
E. International cultural relations

In addition, digitalisation and cultural statistics are included as "important horizontal issues".

Each priority lists several topics to be addressed over the next few years. For example, Priority C also inlcudes the topic " Diversity and competitiveness of the music sector". Based on Music Moves Europe, experts will exchange information on pulic policies to promote the mobility of artists and the circulation of local repertoire within and beyond Europe. Other topics in the Work Plan include Artistic freedom and the Status and working conditions of artists and cultural and creative professionals.

Read the full Work Plan for Culture 2019-2022

The Commission has published an analysis of the current work plan. This analysis includes an assessment of the current Work Plan and suggest priority topics for the next Work Plan.

Read the analysis of the Work Plan for Culture 2019-2022

Work Plan for Culture 2023-2026

The Council Work Plan for Culture is the main policy roadmap to align cultural policies across the EU.

The overarching priorities of the Council Work Plan for Culture 2023-2026:

a) Artists and cultural professionals: empowering the cultural and creative sectors

b) Culture for the people: enhancing cultural participation and the role of culture in society

c) Culture for the planet: unleashing the power of culture

d) Culture for co-creative partnerships: strengthening the cultural dimension of EU external relations

The Work Plan foresees 21 actions under these 4 priorities in the coming years. These include further activities on the status and working conditions of artists nd cultural and creative professionals, artistic freedom, green transition of the cultural and creative sectors, promoting democracy, culture and health, discoverability of European content online, cultural statistics, cultural governance and governance of the EU strategic approach to international cultural relations. How these actions are implemented can vary - from Council conclusions, to workshop or conferences or peer-learning activities.

Read the Work Plan for Culture 2023-2026

Open Method of Coordination and Voices of Culture

The main working method for cooperation between the Member states in the field of culture will remain the Open Method of Coordination (OMC), with new working groups organised along the themes mentioned above. Civil society will be able to feed into the dialogue of these OMC groups, with official structured dialogue. As in the previous cycle, the Goethe Institut was awarded the tender to organise the Structured Dialogue.

In the past, the EMC was selected several times to participate in the Structured Dialogue under the name Voices of Culture in the themes: Stakeholders Committee European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, Social Inclusion: Partnering with other sectors, The Inclusion of Refugees and Migrants through culture, Developing entrepreneurial & innovation potential of the Cultural and Creative Sectors (CCS) as well as Audience Development via Digital Means.