Culture helps fight intolerance and fanaticism - EU ministers

Fight against terrorism/joint declaration of the ministers for culture of the European Union, of the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, and of the President of the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament – Communiqué issued by the Ministry of Culture and Communication¹

Brussels, 20 November 2015

The tragic events of 13 November 2015 in Paris once again plunge the European Union into mourning. They are a wake-up call.

As the ministers for culture of the European Union and senior representatives of the EU institutions, we wish to express our solidarity with the victims and their loved ones, and with the French people as a whole. We also wish to reiterate our condemnation of this senseless barbarity, which seeks to undermine our essential values in the most violent way.

Faced with such violence and attempts to disrupt our ways of life, our beliefs and our freedoms, culture – even more so than in the past – has a crucial contribution to make towards opening minds and promoting tolerance, intercultural dialogue, social integration and mutual respect.

One of the foremost responses which Europe should provide to intolerance, xenophobia, obscurantism, fanaticism of all kinds and radicalization lies in culture.

For culture also means having a drink together, sharing a meal, attending a football match or enjoying the same music. It means using words, notes or cartoons to defend one’s values and one’s causes, whatever these may be. It embodies a certain idea of freedom, diversity, living together and openness towards others. It also represents the way we collectively give meaning to our existence and depth to our lives. Culture is about being free as much as about bringing people together, and that indeed is what makes us citizens.

We, the ministers for culture of the European Union and senior representatives of the EU institutions, vow to strongly uphold these ideals and to combat barbarism and crime with a renewed ambition for culture in Europe, serving a shared horizon we now need more than ever./.

¹Source of English text: Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Published on 05/04/2016

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