Up until the Treaty of Maastricht (1992), the Community had no
real power in the field of culture. However, culture was still represented
in Community activities through ad hoc initiatives.
In 1993, the entry into force of the Treaty of Maastricht marked
the Member States' desire to "mark a new stage in the process
of European integration", that of "an ever closer union
between the peoples of Europe", expressed in particular via
the creation of a European citizenship and by the granting of new
powers to the Community, including new powers in the field of culture,
with the Treaty introducing a new article devoted to it. Cultural
cooperation thus became a recognised aim of Community action, with
an appropriate legal basis (article 128).
This article was included in its entirety in the Treaty of Amsterdam
151), apart from paragraph 4 which was amended to read as follows:
"the Community shall take cultural aspects into account in
its actions under other provisions of this Treaty, in particular
in order to respect and to promote the diversity of its cultures".
This paragraph calls for culture to be taken into account and for
cultural diversity to be respected in all Community policies, in
compliance with Community law. This is a legal obligation, and the
Community institutions must take the cultural implications of all
Community policies on board.
Based on Article 151 (ex-128), a first generation of programmes,
first of all pilot and then sectoral programmes, were put in place
between 1993 and 1999.
In July 1990, the Commission published the selection criteria and
conditions for participation in the "Platform Europe",
which became in 1991 the first Kaléidoscope programme for
supporting artistic and cultural events involving at least three
Member States. The programme was reorganised from 1994 in order
to support cultural events more effectively, encourage artistic
creation and cooperation in the form of a network, to promote better
public access to European heritage and to improve artistic and cultural
cooperation between professionals. Between 1990 and 1995, more than
500 cultural projects received Community support.
Between 1990 and 1996, the Commission also launched several pilot
projects in the area of translation and the promotion of books in
Europe, providing support for more than 500 projects or translations.
These pilots allowed the implementation, between 1996 and 1999,
of three cultural programmes:
- Kaléidoscope (1996-1999), which aimed to encourage artistic
and cultural creation and cooperation with a European dimension;
- Ariane (1997-1999), which supported the field of books and reading,
- Raphaël (1997-1999), the aim of which was to complement Member
States' policies in the area of cultural heritage of European significance.
Finally, preparatory actions were performed in 1999 in order to
manage the preparation of Culture 2000.