Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

Multiculturalism - A Confusing European Approach

Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

Multiculturalism - A Confusing European Approach

Article excerpt


In this research I will introduce the issues of multiculturalism from a European perspective, more precisely from the view of the leaders of European Union and from the legal provisions related to this topic. What started once whit a lot of enthusiasm, ended with extremely disappointing declarations of top European leaders about multiculturalism. It seems that European leaders do not understand the importance of sustainable policies in this sensitive field of multiculturalism. At the end, what is European Union? A sum of cultures, living together for hundreds of years. But, after last waves of expansion of European Union the citizens had to live together with other cultures. And maybe they are not used to live in the proximity of a different culture. So, the issue of multiculturalism is vital for the existence of the whole European Union.

There are countries in which several cultures co-exist, being more or less accepted or tolerated by the whole community. The minority cultures are in different stages of acceptance or tolerances with each other or with the dominant culture.

Keywords: multiculturalism, European Union, EYID 2008 (European Year of Intercultural Dialogue)

1. The European Union Lacks a Clear Perspective on Multiculturalism

The European political project cannot ignore this plurality of cultures in which each national culture expresses and imposes itself differently. The problem of building a new political area means, among other things, the establishment of a new pattern of society - a pluralist pattern which aspires - through the contribution of the various national/ minority cultures - to create a common European culture.

Is multiculturalism able to create a European identity through cultural and political exchanges?

This aspect has to take into account the problem of citizenship and of the intervention of the supranational institutions in defining and creating the notion of citizenship and identity in Europe as for a European political culture to be created.

One of the ideas related to a unite Europe expressly refers to exceeding the models of the states considered to be particularistic and to using means of linking different juridical, cultural and political areas together; at the same time the proposal refers to maintaining the national sovereignty of each state and to elaborating a constitution able to recognize them all.

Mainstreaming culture in all relevant policies within the EU is based on The Lisbon Treaty (Article 167, paragraph 4; the ex- EU Treaty, Article 151) which requires the Union to take into account culture in all its actions so as to foster intercultural respect, and promote diversity (Note 1). The Commission work to ensure that the promotion of culture and cultural diversity is given due consideration when all regulatory and financial decisions or proposals are made.

In May 2007, the Commission advanced an European Agenda for Culture founded on three common sets of objectives: cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue; culture as a catalyst for creativity; and culture as a key component in international relations.

This Agenda, prepared pursuing a public on-line consultation, was approved by the cultural department during the Lisbon Forum of September 2007. It was also endorsed by the Council in its Resolution of November 2007 and then by the European Council in its conclusions of December 2007.

Alongside with the first set of objectives, the Union and all the other relevant stakeholders should work together to foster intercultural dialogue to ensure that the EU's cultural diversity is to understand, respect and promote. In order to accomplish this objective, they should, for example, seek to enhance the cross-border mobility of artists and workers in the cultural sector and the cross-border dissemination of works of art.

The second set of objectives focuses on the promotion of culture as a catalyst for creativity in the framework of the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs and its follow-up "EU 2020". …

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