Culture and education
The Council of Europe promotes European cultural identity and the protection of Europe’s cultural heritage. The 1954 Cultural Convention is also open to European countries that are not members of the Council of Europe. It has often been a way for outside countries to approach membership.
The Cultural Convention had been ratified in 2012 by 50 states: members of the Council and Belarus, the Vatican and Kazakhstan. The Cultural Convention has, among other things, given rise to Eurimages, which provides support for European co-production of films and the European Center for Modern Languages (located in Graz, Austria).
Since 1992, the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages has been in place, in order to protect the right of smaller language groups to use their languages and protect the status of languages as part of their cultural heritage.
The Council of Europe’s cultural work includes investments in film, art and books as well as the training of cultural bureaucrats. Since 1955, the council has been organizing art exhibitions. A special prize goes to museums that have made a significant contribution to preserving Europe’s cultural heritage.
The Council of Europe also plays an active role in film production and the dissemination of European films. The future of European cinema is one of the Council’s heart issues. In 1992, a convention on European co-production of films was added. In addition to the film fund Eurimages, there is Prix Europa, which goes to original and interesting European TV programs.
The Cultural Heritage Committee works to preserve European buildings of cultural-historical value, and the Council has a convention that protects such buildings. In 2000, a declaration on cultural diversity was adopted together with the EU and Unesco. The council also prepares special “cultural travel routes” such as “Vikingavägen”, “Hansavägen” and “Mozartrutten”. Since the beginning of the 1990’s, the Cultural Heritage Committee has devoted a great deal of work to involving Eastern and Central Europe.
At the Warsaw Summit in 2005, it was decided that the Council of Europe should work for a stronger intercultural dialogue and counter intolerance and conflicts. The following year, a White Paper on intercultural dialogue was drafted. In the discussions on the White Paper (a kind of policy document), the Member States have not fully agreed on what such a dialogue would entail, and what the role of the Council of Europe is in this matter. Sweden has, among other things, pointed out the risk that human rights will be relativised with reference to different traditions. The White Paper, which also has a religious dimension, has not been completed.
An overarching goal of the Council’s education project is to prepare young people for life in a multicultural and multilingual Europe. More specifically, it is about the integration of immigrant children in preschool, education in European Studies and preparing students for further education and professional life. An important issue has been how teachers and students should have the opportunity to move across borders. There are educational programs on, for example, democracy, human rights, minorities and democratic citizenship.
The Council of Europe also has a well-developed network for the exchange of students and knowledge between different European schools. Among other things, the Council of Europe has drawn up conventions to facilitate the admission to and evaluation of university education in different countries.
A special database (Eudised) for European research on education is available, as well as special regional cooperation programs between academics. The Council also organizes courses in European languages and teacher scholarships for education in other countries.
The Council has special steering committees for education, higher education and research, culture and cultural heritage. These organize conferences and prepare the various programs. The Secretariat of the Council of Europe is then responsible for their implementation.
According to hyperrestaurant, The Council of Europe’s work in the field of mass media is based on the European Convention’s article on freedom of opinion and expression. The Committee of Ministers has a special steering committee for media issues (CDMSI) and a number of expert committees work under this. The Committee of Ministers also organizes special ministerial conferences on media policy.
The overall goal is to safeguard freedom of expression and opinion, the free flow of information and the independence of the media. Today, much of the debate is about the consequences of new information channels and new technology for both individuals and media companies. Media concentration and transparency in the ownership structure are other current topics.
Previously, television was mainly on the agenda. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, the Committee of Ministers adopted an agreement on a European exchange of television programs and also rules on the copyright of television broadcasts.
Since then, a number of agreements have been added, such as rules for cable and satellite broadcasts, TV advertising, pirated copies, exclusive rights to broadcast major events and rules on the distribution of violent and pornographic videos. A new version of the 1989 Convention on Transfrontier Television was adopted in 1998. It regulates broadcasts between countries and contains, among other things, a ban on pornography and incitement against ethnic groups, protection of freedom of expression and advertising and sponsorship rules.