Culture in International cooperation: Eastern Partnership
The Eastern Partnership was launched in 2009 and covers the 27 EU Member States and the following Eastern partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. A special focus is placed on cultural cooperation as "the EU has specifically recognised the value of cultural cooperation and intercultural dialogue as an integral part of all external policies and has underlined the importance of cultural cooperation in addressing political processes and challenges". In the multilateral framework, which provides for cooperation activities and an open demand-driven dialogue, four Platforms have been set up, covering inter alia the field of culture. The focus during 2009-2011 was on fostering participation of partners in EU-funded programmes, while for 2012-2013 it is on the impact of cultural investment on economic and social development, assistance on policy formulation by identifying tools and mechanisms at regional level and support for EaP partners to maximise the use of existing instruments for cooperation and foster complementarities at regional level.
Targeted efforts to promote the ratification of the Convention have yielded positive results, with all partner countries having ratified the Convention by 2010. The Commission will continue sharing knowledge and experience about the implementation of the Convention. The Eastern Partnership Culture Programme (€ 12 million) is dedicated to cultural cooperation in the region. Its overall objective is to promote culture's role in sustainable development notably by assisting the partner countries in their cultural policy reform at government level, as well as building capacity and improving professionalism of cultural operators in the region through 15 projects started beginning 2012.