«February 2014 Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union Culture, Tourism and Sport © Crown copyright ...»
1.2 However, in all three areas, and particularly prior to the conferral of specific competences, the EU acted under other competences, some of which are shared or exclusive, in ways that impact on these sectors. Where the EU has competence under these general areas to act in relation to an aspect of culture, tourism or sport, it is not limited by the fact that its specific competence is supporting only.
1.3 A more detailed legal analysis of the development and current state of EU competences and relevant case law is provided in our Call for Evidence.
1.4 While the cultural dimension has always played a fundamental role in the nationformation process, culture started to gain more importance on the political agenda of intergovernmental organisations of Europe after World War II. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was established in 1946 with the aim of contributing to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science, and culture. Founded in 1949, the CoE designated culture to be an essential component of its mission to advance respect for human rights, the practice of democracy, and the rule of law.2 Please see: www.gov.uk/review-of-the-balance-of-competencies for a glossary of terms used in this report.
Euroacademia, The Governmentalities of Cultural Policy in Europe: The Actors, Discourses and Formulations (n.d.).
Available at: euroacademia.eu, accessed on 3 February 2014.
14 Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Culture, Tourism and Sport
1.5 While the CoE had already promulgated the European Convention on Culture in 1954, the first instance when cultural policy was articulated within the EU was in the Treaty of Rome (1957), which described it as a factor capable of uniting people and promoting social and economic development. The cultural dimension has been prevalent since then in the political, social, and economic landscape of Europe. The CoE, UNESCO, and the EU have become the key players affecting cultural policy discourses, practices, and actions in Europe. While national cultural policies both affirm and translate the principles and values of cultural policy in Europe, cultural policy-making and discourses are inextricably interwoven with the policies of these transnational institutions.3
1.6 Culture as a specific EU competence was introduced with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty (TEU) in 1992, which established the European Economic Community (TEC) to provide a limited competence in culture. The Treaty also gave the EC external competence; a competence to act externally by co-operating with third countries and international organisations, in relation to culture. Importantly the Maastricht Treaty also provided a new specific route for approval of State aid in relation to culture and heritage preservation.4 Institutions The information contained in this text box is public source information from UNESCO and Council of Europe (CoE).
UNESCO is an intergovernmental organisation that operates at the international level with a specific interest in protection and promotion of sites of outstanding universal importance (World Heritage Sites). UNESCO believes that no development can be sustainable without a strong cultural component. Indeed only a human-centred approach to development based on mutual respect and open dialogue among cultures can lead to lasting, inclusive and equitable results. Yet until recently, culture has been missing from the development equation.
To ensure that culture takes its rightful place in development strategies and processes, UNESCO has adopted a three-pronged approach: it spearheads worldwide advocacy for culture and development, while engaging with the international community to set clear policies and legal frameworks, and working on the ground to support governments and local stakeholders to safeguard heritage, strengthen creative industries and encourage cultural pluralism.5 Euroacademia, The Governmentalities of Cultural Policy in Europe: The Actors, Discourses and Formulations.
Available at: euroacademia.eu/presentation/the-governmentalities-of-cultural-policy-in-europe-the-actorsdiscourses-and-formulations/, accessed on 3 February 2014.
By the insertion of what is now Article 107(3)(d) TFEU.
Please see information taken from the UNESCO office in Santiago, Culture (n.d.), entries available at:
CoE COE is an intergovernmental organisation operating at the wider European level, with 47 Member States, and has competence in the field of culture and cultural heritage. The conventions of the CoE are not statutory acts of the organisation. They owe their legal existence to the consent of those Member States that sign and ratify them. Adopted on 19 December 1954, the Cultural Convention is the foundation for European co-operation in the fields of culture, education, youth and sport. Its aim is to encourage cultural co-operation in all its manifold forms, to foster understanding and knowledge between European countries, and to preserve their cultural heritage and treat it as an integral part of a broader European heritage.
Co-operation between the CoE and the EU is currently governed by the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organisations. The MoU confirms the role of the CoE as the benchmark for human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Europe, stipulates the need for coherence between the two organisations’ legal norms in the fields of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and encourages the CoE and the EU to work together even more closely in the future.
The CoE and the EU co-operate in order to develop intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity with a view to promoting respect for human rights and mutual understanding among cultures in Europe. This dialogue is an important element in the fight against all forms of discrimination, racism, and xenophobia.
Both the CoE and the EU promote ideas and values fostering cultural diversity both among their respective Member States as well as in relevant international fora. In this spirit, the CoE promotes the ratification and implementation of the UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression by its Member States. The CoE and the EU promote its ratification and implementation by their international partners.6
1.7 This new role was nevertheless limited to promoting co-operation between the cultural operators of the different Member States, or to complementing their activities in respect of promoting both national and regional diversity, as well as highlighting a shared European cultural heritage.
1.8 A further step was taken in 1999, when the Treaty of Amsterdam extended the cultural competence by requiring the EC to take cultural aspects into account in its actions under other provisions of the TEU, in particular in terms of respecting and promoting cultural diversity.
1.9 One of the main mechanisms the EU uses to attempt to promote Europe’s diverse culture is through funding programmes. For example, over the last 20 years a Media Programme has supported some highly acclaimed British films including This is England (Shane Meadows, 2006), The King’s Speech (Tom Hooper, 2010) and The Iron Lady (Phyllida Lloyd, 2011). In 2010, UK companies received €8.7m to support the production, distribution and screening of films in the UK, and over €6.7m was invested to boost the European cinema releases of over 40 British films. The programme has also provided funding to support a pan-European network of cinemas including Chapter in Cardiff, Eden Please see information taken from the CoE, European Cultural Convention (n.d.), available at www.hub.coe.int, accessed on 3 February 2014.
16 Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Culture, Tourism and Sport Court in Inverness, Watershed in Bristol and Showroom in Sheffield. The programme supported the 2012 Bristol Encounters International Film Festival and Edinburgh Napier University’s ENGAGE training course. MEDIA distributes roughly €100m a year.7 MEDIA and the Culture Programme In 2011, UK companies received over €7.4m in MEDIA grants to support the production, distribution and screening of films in the UK, and over €6.8m was invested to boost the European cinema releases of over 40 British films. Recently funded UK projects include Ken Loach’s The Angels’ Share, the Mark Cousins –narrated The Story of Film: An Odyssey, and the 2012 edition of BRITDOC’s Good Pitch.8 The programme supported the 2012 Bristol Encounters International Film Festival and Edinburgh Napier University’s ENGAGE training course. MEDIA distributes roughly €100m a year.
This has been supplemented by the EU’s Culture Programme. Between 2007 and 2011 over 200 UK participants in 176 transnational projects received funding from this programme.
These include ACT Community Theatre, Bristol; Belfast Queen’s Festival; Battersea Arts Centre, London; Norfolk Music Services; and Spearfish, Manchester.
In 2011, 43 UK cultural organisations participated in the programme, with five UK-based European organisations receiving an estimated €5.7m in grants.
1.10 In 2013, the European Commission proposed rolling the Media and Culture funding programmes into a new Creative Europe programme dedicated to funding Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) projects in the cultural and creative sectors, on the grounds that they contribute to economic growth, employment, innovation and social cohesion. €1.3bn has been allocated for this programme across Europe for the period 2014-20. The UK Government welcomed this move alongside the introduction of greater transparency on grant giving and more robust monitoring of the programme.
1.11 In 2009, TFEU made clear that, in the area of culture, the EU did not have any powers of harmonisation of national laws and regulations of the Member States in respect of culture, and that the competence remained a supporting competence only. TFEU also provided that the Council should take decisions on culture under qualified majority voting (QMV), rather than by unanimity, thus removing the national veto. The ordinary legislative procedure applies. The relevant legal base for action in the field of culture is Article 167 TFEU.
1.12 In recent years there has also been growing attention paid to the potential for digitisation and electronic communications to facilitate both the preservation of cultural heritage, and raising awareness amongst EU citizens.
1.13 In January 2011, a high-level reflection group delivered a report on the digitisation of Europe’s cultural heritage.9 It urged EU Member States to step up their efforts to put online the collections held in all their libraries, archives, and museums, stressing the benefits of making such material more easily accessible, and pointing to the benefits for such sectors as education, research and tourism.
1.14 The report’s recommendations fed into the EU’s broader strategy under the Digital Agenda MEDIA is a sub-programme of Creative Europe which supports the EU film and audiovisual industries.
For more information please see: www.bfi.org.uk/film-industry/media-programme-funding, accessed on
for Europe, and proposed that the Europeana portal should become the central reference point for Europe’s online cultural heritage.10 The European Commission subsequently adopted a recommendation on Digitisation and Digital Preservation in October 2011 which sets targets for minimum content contribution by 2015 – with a view to receiving a balanced set of contributions from across the EU.11 Europeana is the common access point to the collections of European libraries, archives and museums from all around Europe.
On 27 October 2011, the Commission adopted a Recommendation on Digitisation and Digital Preservation. The Recommendation asked Member States to step up their efforts, pool their resources and involve private actors in digitising cultural material and make it available through Europeana.12 Europeana, which started out with 2m items when it was launched in 2008, currently holds more than 23m objects, which are now accessible through a more intuitive and interactive interface. It aims to provide a balanced set of contributions from across Europe.
Since 2008, many UK organisations (such as the British Library and National Maritime Museum) have delivered information about their Collections through Europeana, and there are now almost 1.5m digital assets from the UK available through the system.
Other Areas of EU Competence Affecting Culture
1.15 In addition to actions under the specific culture competence, the EU has adopted important measures under other competences which impact on the culture sector. For example, the Cultural Objects Directive 93/7/EEC, adopted under the free movement of goods competence, provides for a cooperation mechanism and a procedure for returning national treasures which have been unlawfully removed from a Member State. Also, the Cultural Exports Regulation 116/2009/EEC (adopted under the common commercial policy competence) establishes a harmonised system for export of cultural goods outside the EU.13 14 There are currently proposals for the Cultural Objects Directive to be amended, notably in respect of the categories of goods which it covers. This is presently under negotiation.
1.16 The European Council has also adopted a set of Conclusions on preventing and combating crime against cultural goods, citing not only the EU’s competence in respect of culture and the free movement of goods, but also its competence in relation to the prevention, detection and investigation of criminal offences.15 There are also proposals to bring together law enforcement officials with expertise in cultural goods. Please see the Balance of Competences report on the free movement of goods, which will be published alongside this report.16
European Commission, Europeana – A Single Access Point to Europe’s Cultural Heritage (n.d.). Available at:
ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/digital_libraries/europeana/index_en.htm, accessed on 3 February 2014.
Commission Recommendation 2011/711/EU on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation, October 2011.