THE EUROPEAN UNION does not have a cultural policy. It has programs, such as the Capital of Culture, which Greek actress and former minister for the arts Melina Mercouri proposed in the early days of the European Union as a vehicle for cultural understanding between member states. There is Creative Europe, launched in January 2014, with over a billion Euros in funding for the arts, and other programs such as the one currently supporting European collaborations with Australia. These often mean big grants, but complex application and acquittal processes. There is, however, no formal overarching policy.
As the only resident-Australian member of the European House of Culture, I attended a roundtable in Brussels in December 2013, a precursor to the Berlin Conversation in March, when members of the European House of Culture and senior artists were to meet candidates standing in the May European elections. This forced coupling is designed to argue for cultural policy and to invite Euro politicians to engage with the arts.
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