World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development: Joint Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and Commissioner Mariya Gabriel

On the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, we celebrate cultural diversity in the European Union and underline its importance in fostering dialogue and respect between people all around the world. Europe is a mosaic of diversity shaped by centuries of exchanges between different nations, languages and cultures.

The EU is engaged in the preservation of the diversity of cultural expressions and traditions all over the world. Cultural and creative industries are the engine of cultural vitality. As the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted a harsh blow to the cultural and creative sector, the European Union reaffirms the importance of a vibrant and cultural industry for societies. EU initiatives such as the European Capitals of Culture, Erasmus+ and Creative Europe have gained a renewed importance in this context.

The EU is strongly engaged in international cultural relations, with programmes supporting the cultural sector of its partner countries. It also fosters cultural cooperation, as it strongly contributes to inter-cultural dialogue, conflict prevention, reconciliation and resilience, proving to be a shield against intolerance and violent extremism.

With the pilot project “European Houses of Culture” the EU is testing innovative models and practices of collaboration in partner countries to create spaces – whether physical or digital, whether permanent or temporary – for cultural exchange, co-creation and people-to-people contacts.

Cultural heritage is one of the richest expressions of cultural diversity. We should remember that it is a  non-renewable, irreplaceable common good, frequently under threat due to environmental challenges, conflict, neglect and decay. As part of the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions(link is external), the EU will continue to engage in the protection of cultural heritage sites and fight illicit trade in cultural goods.

Cultural diversity nurtures innovation and new thinking. It is thanks to cultural diversity that Europe has been able throughout centuries to adapt to a changing world. The EU and its Member States stand committed to support and protect the variety of cultures, providing opportunities for cultural exchanges, cooperation and creation. Culture is at the heart of progress: it can play a truly key role in the aftermath of the current crisis.