Lithuanian Cultural Policy and the European Union
The cultural policy has been adopted by the European Union during the 1990s with the aim of creating a European identity which would bring the people of Europe closer and which would lead them to identify themselves as “Europeans”. On the other hand, the cultural policy adopted by the Union remained supplementary in its character as the member states did not want to lose their sovereignties, especially on such an issue that underlines the national identities, (Sassatelli, 436) As a result, the European cultural policy became one that respects and tries to protect the national cultures of the member states on the one hand, while it tries to create a European culture and identity on the other. In other words, the main aim of the European cultural policy is to create unity in diversity. (Sassatelli, 30) Although it is supplementary in character and although the Union is not the decision maker in the cultural matters, the member states are expected to follow the cultural policy of the Union which suggests them to protect their national heritage, cooperate with other member states in cultural matters, to promote an inclusive national culture, to adopt a democratic, open and competitive national cultural policy. Lithuania, which became a member of the European Union in 2004, had a different cultural policy understanding than the Union and its member states as it was a Communist country. With the end of Communism and with the aim of becoming a member of the European Union, Lithuania has changed its cultural policy and shaped the new policy according to the idea of cultural policy adopted by the Union; a competitive, inclusionary, and based on cooperation.
European Union Cultural Policy
The first steps towards the establishment of a cultural policy in the European Union were taken during the late 1970s, when the European Union was European Community. In the 1973 with the wave of enlargement and with the economic crisis the Community faced, the member states signed a Declaration of the European Identity. With the Declaration they stated that the member states of the Community share common attitudes and their aim is to build a society which gives priority to the individuals. (Bozoki, 2) The low turn out in the first direct elections for the European parliament made the Community to realize that there was a need to take measures for unification of peoples of Europe as it became obvious that economic integration alone would not lead to such thing. In 1984, the European Council set up a Committee for a People’s Europe. The main aim of the Committee was to take necessary measures to strengthen the European identity. The Committee produced two reports in both of which it was suggested to increase cooperation between the member states in the area of culture, information, and communication. The reports also argued for the development of cultural projects in the form of cultural exchanges, town twining schemes, and youth programs (Bozoki 3). However, the reports were away from proposing a common cultural policy. Another attempt to create a European cultural policy came in the mid 1980s when the Community was preparing itself to the Single European Act, which created the internal market. In 1985, the Delors Commission started to implement the proposals of the Committee for a People’s Europe. During the time the blue flag with twelve stars were adopted as the official flag of the Community. European passports, driving licenses were introduced together with the European postage stamps. (Bozoki, 3) The European Cultural Area was created with the aim of promoting educational exchanges, translation of literary works, and town twining schemes. Another program that was adopted during the time was the Cultural Capitals of Europe. The European Union has legalized its cultural policy with the Treaty of Maastricht, the treaty establishing the European Union, for the first time in 1991. The 151....
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