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Council decision on the UNESCO convention on the protection of the diversity of cultural expressions

Proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of the UNESCO convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions.
Brussels, 21.12.2005
COM(2005) 678 final

The conditions for preserving and promoting cultural diversity in Europe and the world depend not only on economic conditions, but also on a multitude of other structural factors. The size of markets, the presence (or not) of linguistic minorities, territories with less widely spoken languages, links with national or regional identities, the material or non-material nature of traditions and cultural heritage, and historical links with other countries are also elements which influence the conditions for cultural expression, culture consumption and cultural exchanges.

At European level this diversity of situations is already the dominant reality and has been enriched by the recent historic enlargement, which brought in ten new Member States. Globalisation, although it introduces new possibilities for exchanges between cultures, can also threaten the more vulnerable cultures and give rise to standardisation phenomena which are likely to jeopardise cultural diversity.

The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted in Paris on 20 October 2005, aims to fill a legal vacuum in world governance by establishing a series of rights and obligations, at both national and international levels, with a view to the protection and promotion of cultural diversity.

This instrument should play a similar role for cultural diversity - at the same normative level - as World International Property Organisation conventions, World Trade Organisation agreements, World Health Organisation agreements and Multilateral Environment Agreements.

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