EU Structured Dialogue in the field of culture policy: History and record of our involvement

  • PIE logoIn March 2007 the Platform became a partner in the European Commission’s steering group for the 2008 European Year for Intercultural Dialogue; several meetings of this group took place in 2007-2008.
  • In May 2007, the European Commission published its unprecedented strategy document “A European Agenda for Culture” and referred to the Platform: "The Commission welcomes the progressive structuring already taking place with the emergence of some representative organisations as well as some cooperation structures such as a civil society platform on intercultural dialogue".
  • SD the 3 platforms screenshotIn February 2008, following the adoption of this Agenda by the EU Council of Culture ministers in November 2007, the European Commission announced that the Structured Dialogue between the EU and the cultural sector (one of the instruments proposed in the Agenda for Culture) would be organised around three thematic platforms – the Civil Society Platform for Intercultural Dialogue had served as the prototype and formally became one of the three (the other two concern ‘Access to Culture’ and ‘The Creative and Cultural Industries’.)
  • In response to doubts raised about the sustainability of the 3-platform scenario, the European Commission created an opening for “policy support structures” in the EU Culture Programme (for 2009-2013). The Platform for Intercultural Europe has thus applied and been selected for EU operational grants.
  • The Platform for Intercultural Europe has contributed to the Structured Dialogue on Cultural Policy in the following fields: EU Culture Forums (presentations in sessions dedicated to PIE), European Agenda for Culture process (contribution to the Agenda’s 2010 review), Open Method of Coordination by the EU Council in the field of culture, EU Culture Programme consultation (2010 Study on the implementation of the programme objective ‘intercultural dialogue’). Details of this work are document here
  • We are moreThe Platform for Intercultural Europe supported the We Are More campaign, driven by its strategic partner Culture Action Europe (CAE) and the European Cultural Foundation (ECF). The campaign mobilised people who care about culture in Europe to influence the negotiations on the 2014-2020 EU budget and on the legislation for the Creative Europe (2014-2020) programme.
  • It was a particular advocacy success of PIE’s that the EU Culture Council decided in November 2010 to set up an intergovernmental working group on Intercultural Dialogue as part of the EU Culture Council's 2011-2014 work plan. From PIE’s manifesto "The Rainbow Paper" to its 2010 campaign document, it had been PIE’s key demand that the legacy of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 be built upon by the EU Council. 
  • OMC meetingWhile PIE used the Structured Dialogue process in the best way possible and received recognition for its work, the process as a whole increasingly showed its flaws. In 2012, the European Commission therefore contracted Ecorys (UK) to conduct an “Evaluation of the Open Method of Coordination and the Structured Dialogue as the Agenda for Culture’s implementing tools at European Union level.” The final report was published in July 2013.
  • This report delivered the evidence for the failings of the process which were already being voiced by its participants, especially the representatives of the three different Structured Dialogue platforms: “The potential added value of the platforms in terms of consultation between civil society organisations and the European Commission was not exploited fully, at least in part because of the lack of common understanding about ownership of the process and how it should work in practice.” (p. v) Also: “Each Platform developed its own management structures and organizational arrangements leading to very different approaches.” (p. vi)
  • The report went on to recommend that after 2013, “Rigidity and unnecessary institutionalization of structures should be avoided” and “Participation in the dialogue process needs to be built on flexible participation, where all the organisations interested to contribute have an opportunity to take part, … not just members of a platform.” Future funding for civil society organisations should therefore “focus on specific initiatives and projects with minimal support for administrative functions.”
  • Under the Creative Europe programme (2014-2021) support to Structured Dialogue Platforms is therefore no longer foreseen. In fact, advocacy by civil society organisations is no longer an activity eligible for applications to the programme. It looks likely (November 2013) that civil society consultation will become largely a demand-driven process, i.e. a service provision contracted by way of calls for tender. Beyond this, the EC might offer regular meetings with civil society organisations to exchange info on policy developments and civil society thinking, but the CSOs will have to find the resources for such work themselves. The EC also holds out that CSOs can participate in ad hoc public consultations on new policy initiatives as part of the EC’s “smart regulation” strategy.

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