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02 jun 2000


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The European Union and its cultural diverseness

Meike Berns Int 305 City-University


The European Union and its cultural diverseness

I would wish to discourse that a sense of community which is necessary in concern and in day-to-day life is non achieved yet. Even with opening the boundary lines between the member provinces and set uping a common currency the work is non done yet.

The inquiry frequently asked is how to accomplish a sense of community in the different member provinces with their different civilizations. Is it even possible? How can the end of feeling as an European be achieved? Should people give up their national pride? To do Europe? one unit? is it necessary to hold one linguistic communication?

Europe is more than merely a place market and Euro. Culture plays a large function in acquiring a communal spirit and assurance for the Europeans. Cultural and educational policy is the member provinces? duty, but non merely: Besides the community has the mission to back up civilization ( article 151 Treaty on European Union ) .

This paper will research the attempts made by the member provinces to run into the challenges originating within our socities: safeguarding European civilization, confirming our common individuality whilst acknowledging our differences, advancing the survey of our linguistic communications, history, civilisation: the best antidots to lapsing into patriotism and intolerance.

Culture is defined as behavior peculiar to Homo sapiens, together with material objects used as an built-in portion of this behavior. Therefore, civilization includes linguistic communications, thoughts, beliefs, imposts, codifications, establishment, tools, techniques, plants of art, rites, and ceremonials, among other elements ( Encyclopedia Britannica, 2000 ) .

The European Union consists of 15 Member States at the minute and negotiates with 13 new accession campaigners. Europe? s population hence will increase to 550 million people. The high figure of Member States shows the assortments and differences every bit good as cultural jobs that go along with this procedure. Although Europe portions a common history each state has developed its ain cultural individuality over centuries. The on-going integrating will demo if Europe converges on the cultural every bit good as on the economic and political degree. The European Union tries to better the better apprehension and credence of cultural diversenesss by several plans and enterprises towards a cultural convergence. The paper will concentrate on 1 ) the European Cultural Convention and 2 ) the Culture 2000 plan which are portion of this procedure. And will besides demo some 3 ) public sentiments refering the cultural diverseness in Europe.

1 ) The European Cultural Convention was signed in 1954 and is the model for the Council of Europe? s activity in a ) instruction, B ) civilization, degree Celsius ) cultural heritage. Programs developed within the model of the Convention are directed non merely towards the Member States, but besides towards all those actively involved, in partnership with the Council of Europe, in the development of instruction and civilization.

a ) Education lays a foundation rock for the formation of sentiments. Therefore it is really of import to learn immature people how to set up greater common apprehension and assurance. An pressing demand is to beef up plans to extinguish bias in the instruction of history by stressing positive common influences by states, faiths and thoughts in the historical development of Europe. Young people should larn how to organize their ain sentiment by looking at every site of an topic. The Council has set up undertakings that show how to fix them for survey, preparation, work, mobility, leisure and mundane life in a multicultural Europe. A web of national bureaus to advance school links and exchanges was established. It is based on the construct of cultural exchange, and lingual considerations play a minor function. Participants can analyze in another state for three up to nine month and remain with a host household.

To maintain a critical function that single citizens have to play in battling extremism and guaranting democratic stableness and societal coherence a undertaking called? Education for Democratic Citizenship? came to life. It seeks to happen ways of animating idividuals to take up this challenge in the context of quickly germinating political constructions.

The Convention brings besides the legal model for the just acknowledgment of makings, grades or sheepskin in the European Union up to day of the month. The mark groups are pupils, parents, employers universities, and other higher instruction establishments. The application process in another Member State? s university for illustration is frequently really time-consuming, and non crystalline plenty. On those jobs the Council of Europe is concentrating on.

B ) To advance consciousness of Europe? s multi-faceted cultural individuality and to develop it several cultural policies and activities has been set up. The European plan of national cultural policy reappraisals encourages the pooling of experience, in order to pull practical lessons from the success or failure of national and regional steps and to place comparable jobs. The end is to accomplish a sense of squad work and community.

-Interregional artistic co-operation enterprises are supported by the Council of Europe and a co-operation between European artistic and cultural webs as a forum for discoursing Europe? s major cultural policy issues are promoted.

-A fund called Eumirages with a sum of about 150 million Gallic francs to back up co-production, distribution and exhibition of European movies and docudramas was set up in 1988.

-A undertaking was set up to advance and distribute European values and civilization through the written word, both in electronic and printed signifier. Because the European Ministers recognised the of import function of the Media to protect and to circulate cultural values.

-Through high-quality touristry Europeans should be reminded by Cultural Routes of their common cultural individuality. Cultural Routes cover the undermentioned subjects: Silk and Textiles, the Baroque epoch, rural home grounds, the cloistered influence, the Vikings, the Hanseatic League, etc.

degree Celsius ) The extraordinary diverseness of the cultural roots is what distinguishes the European civilization from other civilizations. The Grecian doctrine, the Roman constitutions, the Jewish-Christian traditions- the Law, the Gospel- are contradictory, with originative tenseness or insolvable struggles. And there are Germanic roots and the influence of the Arabic universe, the Slav. One could specify the European civilization as a civilization were many definitions are possible and every individual one would be right. Sonett, sonata, oil picture and whatever more were European and non national creative activities.

The European civilization has ne’er been a merely in exchange meeting apposition of national civilizations. Fact is that Europe has a common cultural heritage that works as a cultural roof for all developed differences in each Member State over the centuries. In this regard heritage is an unreplaceable agencies of increasing European witting and of distributing cognition about European civilization.

A run called? Europe, a common heritage? is being carried out in cooperation with the Council of Europe in 1999. To promote cultural exchange amongst Europeans and to let them to detect their cultural diverseness and cultural wealth is the intent of this run. It includes international picture taking competitions about the heritage, and the European heritage yearss etc.

2 ) The? Culture 2000 Program? is so to talk the European Cultural Conventions replacement. The? Culture 2000 Program? is a fiscal instrument with a entire budget of 167 million Euro and is established for five old ages. It grants support for cultural co-operation undertakings in all artistic and cultural sectors like literature, heritage, humanistic disciplines etc. The purpose is the same, to convey Europeans on a cultural degree closer together. Europeans should larn to unite the cultural diverseness with a common cultural heritage. Creativity and mobility, inter-cultural duologue and cognition of the history of the peoples of Europe are really of import points. For societal integrating and socio-economic development civilization has a enormous influence.

3 ) Overview over some public sentiments

Among the Member States sentiments vary about the attempts made by the European Union. Some argue that it is non possible to convey so many different civilizations together. Like the Gallic. They are scared of the turning uniformity and standardization of the universe in order to continue the diverseness of cultural end product.

Others argue that it is necessary for going one unit to acquire in touch with the Member States cultural values. Like Lord Yehudi Menuhin ( violonist, music director, and human-centered ) , who sent a missive to Heads of State of the European Union in 1997. He claims that one component is losing in the general construct of the European Union: the representation of the rich diverseness of European Cultures. His accusal is that there is no changeless touch between the different civilizations, that would take to a repudiation on the portion of any given civilization, of autonomous national and territorial aspirations. He is? engaged in set uping a representation of civilizations at the degree of a greater Europe. The representatives ( & # 8230 ; ) would hold to bask the assurance and trust of their group, but they would besides hold to talk with the purpose of making agreeme

nt? ( ) . From his point of position an? Assembly of Cultures can play a decisive function in the outgrowth of a echt European scruples, which would represent the best defence of its people and of the community? . The European Union has non taken the duty of guarding Europeans? Culture, to protect a human being, his heritage, his rights, and his creativeness.

Another point of position is to accomplish a European Union beyond the economic degree, without going victims of their ain success, European states have to step back from the thought of state and get down working toward a plural and cultural citizenship. The European Unions? major investing should travel to planing pluralism in citizenship as the hamlets of globalisation and localisation.


For rather a substential proportion of Europeans, the image of a better society is? the universe as it used to be? with 68 % holding that they want a universe in which people live by traditional values. Just about half of the European population feels that we? d better off if we returned to our traditional ways of making things ( 51 % ) . However, a yearning for traditionality does non needfully intend that everything should travel back to the manner it used to be: merely 25 % of Europeans agree that a hubby? s occupation is to gain the money and a married woman? s occupation is to look after the place. ( )


There is widespread understanding among the European populace that it is of import for people to understand how the EU plants. Equally, the big bulk of Europeans feels that it is of import that people have entree to information about the EU with more than 9 in 10 Europeans experiencing that better information on determinations taken by the EU should be available to its citizens. There is a demand for information with less than 4 in 10 Europeans experiencing good informed about the EU. ( )


From my point of position there is still a batch work to be done until the people in the European Union feel like one unit. A sense of community can merely be achieved if we learn to be unfastened minded. It is really of import that we do non see our ain civilization as the non plus extremist. We should get down to look beyond our boundary lines to larn and to see what other civilizations have to offer.

Particularly the young person should be encouraged to happen out about, be cognizant of, and recognize the intrinsic value of cultural diverseness. Young people should be enabled to see the European Union as an built-in portion of their historical, political, cultural and societal environment and to go cognizant of the importance of democracy in the administration of society and therefore promote them to play an active portion in its establishments. An consciousness of dangers associating to exclusion, includingracism and xenophobia, through socio-educational steps for and by immature people should be promoted.

Education takes an of import function in this attempt. I wish we would larn more about our common heritage. In school history is ever shown as a history of that peculiar state. The yesteryear is non merely a German, Gallic or Italian yesteryear. It is the yesteryear of all European states. And we should all larn from the errors or experiences the other European state made. The first and 2nd World War off class teared the people apart from each other. Nationalism arised really strongly. Every one should be able to be a small chauvinistic but I think to much proud of the ain state makes one blind for the tresures of other states and values people have. For the hereafter I think it is necessary that a common educational policy for the Member States enable immature or not-so-young people to do experiences in foreign states. To populate in another civilization, non merely to read or see something about it in the media, is the lone manner to understand the values and the tradition. The just acknowledgment of grades, sheepskin and making is the foundation for academic mobility of the people. Better information, more crystalline, consistent and dependable acknowledgment processs are cardinal factors that are losing in the EU. Of class there is a advancement on the educational degree but it seems like the EU does non see the importance of a better cooperation and apprehension between the Member States. One currency and one individual European market seems to be more of import.

But how can it be expected that people make concern together without understanding each other? I do non speak about the linguistic communication barriers. Every civilization has its ain manner to cover with concern. Increasingly, professionals in cross-cultural direction, who seek to develop transcultural competency, sense the demand to travel beyond the defense mechanism of their ain theoretical account. It is legitimate to hold a mental theoretical account. We are all animals of our civilization. The job is to larn, to travel beyond our ain theoretical account, without being afraid that our long-held certainties will fall in. The demand to win over others to our point of position, to turn out the lower status of their manner of thought, reveals our ain insecurities and uncertainties about the strength of our individuality. Genuine self-awareness accepts that we follow a peculiar mental cultural plan and that members of other civilizations have different plans. We may happen out more about ourselves by researching those differences. The first measure for this is to cognize that there are differences. Of class there is no cosmopolitan direction how to cover with other civilizations but every bit shortly as we realize that there is non merely one manner ( our ain manner ) half of the work towards an apprehension between each other would be done.

We can non deny that there exist linguistic communication barriers between the Member States and I think it is necessary to hold on one linguistic communication that the Europeans should be able to talk. Each native linguistic communication should non be forgotten. On the contrary, it is the duty of each Member State to advance their ain linguistic communication. Because it is an of import component of civilization. It merely happened because of the American impact on Europe that English became the figure one concern linguistic communication. And I think every state within the EU should advance learning their citizen to talk at least a small English. And once more this is a inquiry of patriotism.

In France for illustration, I think one can state that they are really chauvinistic, my experience was that most of them did non understand or even did non desire to understand English. At the terminal they will endure from their? ignorance? because the will non be competitory on the planetary market.

Even in Germany a batch of people did non larn English. Although we had the advantage, sing the linguistic communication, that the American influence was and still is bigger than in other Member States because of the occupying forces after the Second World War.

Tourism shows that a batch of people think that their ain civilization is? superior? . If we take a expression at the phenomenom Palma de Mallorca. Sarcastics say that this island is the 16th federal province of Germany. Palma is the figure one holiday finish for Germans because they do non hold to abstain from German beer or Schnitzel. They behave like they are at place and non in another state where they really have to suit in the wonts and regulations of the dwellers. Why do they go to another state to do the same things they do at place? It is so much more interesting to acquire to cognize the different civilization and traditions.

For illustration the Gallic or Spanish people do non go that much. One ground was their fiscal state of affairs in the yesteryear because the exchange rate was rather high. Another ground is that they have the their ain seashores and beaches where they can hold holiday at. Most of the Gallic people who live in the interior state have a vacation-apartment at the seashore of their ain state. That leads to an rawness of other traditions, values, constructions of society, thoughts and linguistic communications.

The polls ( see figure 3 ) shows that maintaining traditions is a high value for Europeans. I think one ground for this importance of traveling the traditional manner for most of the Europeans is the diminishing population growing. There are more? older? people than immature people. And they are more cautious or even scared of the unknown. They are non unfastened minded plenty to confront the alteration of clip.

As one can see from the polls there is a deficiency of information. How can people develop a sense of community if they do non even cognize plenty about the EU? I think this is besides a job of age. But this clip the other manner around. Nowadays immature people are non so interested in political issues any longer. Although the figure of beginnings to acquire informations increased with the cyberspace and the media.

My point of position is that the EU should concentrate more, sing spreading of informations, on the immature people. Because they are the European citizens of tomorrow.

In decision, I can state that it is highly of import to promote the Europeans to take portion on the political and cultural development of the European Union. And that the European establishment should demo more duty sing cultural and educational policy.


? European Business? Richard Welford & A ; Kate Prescott ( 1996 )

? Riding the moving ridges of civilization? Fons Trompenaars & A ; Charles Hampden-Turner ( 1997 )

? Das EG-Buch? Rolf Grix & A ; Wilhelm Kn? ll ( 1993 )

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