JMI Position Paper on EU Commissioners' Portfolios

  • 3 months ago

The new redistribution of the Commissioner-designate portfolios proposed by Von der Leyen does not explicitly include culture in any of the titles of the college of Commissioners, while in parallel, actions related to the promotion of the European cultural values are allocated to different portfolios. Finally, the name of the Commissioner Schinas’ portfolio "Protecting the European Way of Life" is “more than original”, as pointed out also by the President of the European Parliament Mr. Sassoli.

Culture is an important social and economic dimension of a long-term, sustainable society: it promotes individual and community growth; it promotes intercultural awareness and acceptance. Culture and creative industries provide jobs and an increasing share of the European GDPs. Cultural organisations build the European platform for intercultural dialogue, a European space based on peace, freedom of expression and respect for fundamental values, one of the most important being equality of all people.

JMI, as a global network using the power of music to bridge across social, geographical, racial and economic divides, strongly reaffirms that the survival of the European Union cannot be based only on economic and monetary unions, but on a union whose common vision and set of values are based on culture, education and learning, continuously promoted, re-evaluated and thus innovated by its citizens, and especially from and with its young, growing generations.

The rich diversity of European cultural expressions has the power to integrate and build bridges across borders and across social and political differences, thus strengthening the sense of togetherness and belonging to a community of shared values. The name "Protecting the European Way of Life" is not understandable, because "way of life" is far different from "values", as envisioned by the EU motto "Unity in diversity" - a strong competitive union based on its many different cultures, traditions and languages.

The New European Agenda for Culture [COM(2018) 267 final] adopted by the European Commission on May 2018 "responds to the European Leaders' invitation to do more, through culture and education, to build cohesive societies and offer a vision of an attractive European Union".

In some specific cases the wording is substance, and the title of the Commissaries' portfolios is one of these cases. Since MEPs are going to assess commissioner candidates in a series of public hearings, we call them to

1. Reintroduce the specific “Innovation and Youth” portfolio with the Culture and Education wording in order to underline with due emphasis the Commission's commitment for the implementation of the New European Agenda for Culture and its support to and promotion of culture in all its forms.

2. Empower the currently named “Innovation and Youth” portfolio with oversight and coordination functions that will create synergies and strategic approach to the development, the support for and the dissemination of the European cultural values in the Union.

3. Rather than “Protecting the European Way of Life”, reintroduce a positive approach to the promotion and the further enhancement of the European values of equality, integration and multiculturalism that the Union is actually based on.

Brussels 13/09/2019
JMI and all its Members.