Towards a Strategy for culture in the Mediterranean Region: the importance of mobility highlighted

With the objective to draft a demand driven strategy responding to the needs of the cultural field in partner countries, the European Commission has requested a report to Fanny Bouquerel and Basma El Husseiny to identify strategic areas for both the public authorities and the civil society. Mobility is considered a key issue.

The Ministers of Culture of the Euromediterranean Partnership decided in their meeting on 29-30 May 2008 in Athens to launch a process leading to the development of a Euro-Mediterranean Strategy on Culture. For the first time, the need for a coherent strategic vision was expressed and a mandate was given at the political level for the preparation of a regional Strategy on Culture that will have to be adopted by consensus by all partners of the Union for the Mediterranean.

This report aims at giving food for thought to the EU, including practical information and recommendations that would contribute to designing the EU strategy. To reach this aim, the main body of this report is structured around three main interrelated areas of reflection and action.

The first part presents an analysis of the cultural field, addressing cultural policy as well as the capacity of the cultural field in the Mediterranean.

The second part deals with the impact and the contribution of the cultural field on the society, both at the economic and social levels. It deals with the cultural and creative industries . It analyses the role of culture as an access point to development and social cohesion and underlines the importance of culture in education and youth programmes.

The third part aims at giving an account of the situation in terms of regional collaboration and international dialogue and identifying some obstacles and opportunities to develop balanced partnership. Building inclusive partnership and exploring new network modalities and ways to collaborate, within and beyond the Mediterranean, to present examples and offer new directions for further development in order to envisage how to foster fruitful partnerships in the region.

MOBILITY was reported by the authors as one of the relevant issues to be considered within a cultural policy for this area: "easy mobility, and networking dynamics between all cultural players are indispensable features to guarantee a more fluid and vibrant cultural scene in the Euro-Mediterranean region", they argue.

Authors appeal to all stakeholders to take their responsability in fostering mobility, notably national authorities, by supporting existing mobility programmes and organisations and being aware and flexible towards the increasingly mobility obstacles and consequent risks of cancellation of activities.

Mobility in most cases is becoming increasingly difficult, caused by stricter conditions imposed by European and Southern Mediterranean countries for obtaining a visa, insufficient infrastructures and high travelling costs between some countries, or volatile political situations.

Read the full report and recommendations: “Towards a Strategy for Culture in the Mediterranean Region”