In October 2015 EU Heads of State agreed that tackling the migration and refugee crisis is a common obligation which requires a comprehensive strategy and a determined effort over time in a spirit of solidarity and responsibility. In November 2015 Member States’ Culture Ministers debated the issue, and agreed that after providing for migrants’ and refugees’ immediate needs, the focus needs to turn to their social and economic integration. They agreed that culture and the arts have a role to play in the process of integrating refugees who will be granted asylum status, to help them to better understand their new environment and its interaction with their own socio-cultural background, thus contributing to building a more cohesive and open society.
EU Culture Ministers also agreed to create a new working group of Member State expertsin the context of the migration and refugee crisis, to explore how culture and the arts can bring individuals and peoples together and increase participation in cultural and societal life. This work will build on the 2014 Expert Group’s Report on the Role of Public Arts and Cultural Institutions in the Promotion of Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue.
The European Parliament is currently preparing its own report on intercultural dialogue, led by Julie Ward MEP, for adoption in early 2016.
To deliver on European and national political commitments, activities at local level are vitally important, particularly those led by arts and cultural organizations working at grass-roots level.
The Commission would now like to hear the views of organizations working in communities – in the field of culture and beyond, including NGOs combatting racism and xenophobia. The Commission is therefore very happy that cultural organizations also identified the issue of the inclusion of migrant as top theme to be discussed in the consultation on the open theme under the structured dialogue in the field of culture. A total of 322 organizations across Europe voted in the online consultation to define this fifth (and final) theme of the 2015-2016 structured dialogue “Voices of culture”
Two meetings will be held in 2016 to discuss the issue (brainstorming and dialogue meetings), in which it is proposed to structure discussions around three questions, set out below:
It will be open to participants to propose additional or different issues to focus on during the meetings and in the final report of the process (though we suggest the group should not prioritise the issue of culture in shared public spaces, on which separate discussions are being held).
What is it about?
The Brainstorming Session on the role of culture in promoting the inclusion of refugees and migrants represents the opportunity for a group of 35 European civil society stakeholders in the cultural sector to exchange ideas on this topic and to present these to the European Commission. The group has brainstormed on 14-15 June 2016, and then had the opportunity, in September 2016, to discuss their main ideas) with the European Commission at a Dialogue Meeting in Brussels. You can download the agenda and the list of participants.
The present report is the result of the discussion with the European Commission. This document has been drafted and edited principally by six of the participants (listed below), coordinated via online digital means and in close consultation with all 33 participants who provided support and feedback (see list of participants in annex):
Jozefien De Bock
Elena di Federico
The participants of the Structured Dialogue on “THE ROLE OF CULTURE IN PROMOTING INCLUSION IN THE CONTEXT OF MIGRATION” met representatives of the European Commission on the 15th of September 20156. You can download the agenda and the list of participants.