Platform serves as prototype for two further civil society platforms

19th February 2008,
brussels, Belgium
- meeting

Organiser: European Commission

Logo European CommissionOn 19th February 2008 the European Commission held an information session for civil society stakeholders on the future of the Structured Dialogue in the field of Culture. It announced a call for the establishment of two further thematic Civil Society Platforms (Access to Culture, Cultural Industries) in addition to the existing one (Intercultural Dialogue). Moreover, a range of thematic working groups will be set up in the EU Culture Council with experts mostly from national ministries.

The Civil Society Platform for Intercultural Dialogue was invited on this occasion to present testimony of its own experience as a platform. Sabine Frank distinguished two models of dialogue between the EU and civil society organisations: The ‘output model’ where civil society organisations participate first and foremost based on the expertise they can bring to policy making, and the ‘connectivity model’ where civil society organisations get involved to connect the institutions with the grass roots and vice versa. Each type adds a different kind of legitimacy to EU policy-making. In order to manage expectations of the new platforms, Sabine Frank said that the EC needed to be clear what the primary model was – in the case of the Platform for Intercultural Dialogue, ‘connectivity’ had come before ‘outputs’.

The Commission seemed to approach the creation of two new platforms primarily with the idea of generating policy outputs, she said. Nevertheless, there were significant pitfalls such as the mismatch of the complexity of the process and the human and financial resources available to maintain it. Important questions were also begging for reflection:

  • Who is being invited and how many?
  • How open will the process remain for newcomers?
  • What are the aims and objectives, what are the working processes?
  • What areas are going to be discussed?
  • What about the transparency of the process and the use of its results?

Presentation of the Civil Society Platform for Intercultural Dialogue

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