The very first Eastern Partnership Ministerial Conference on Culture was held on 27-28 June in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The Conference – opened by Commissioner Vassiliou and Mr Odisharia, Minister of Culture of Georgia – gathered several Ministers from the Eastern Partnership region and from the EU, also beyond the area of culture.
The high level event allowed for an open, informal exchange about the challenges faced by Partners in promoting a broad, strategic vision of culture. The conference underlined the need to integrate culture in the development agendas and to deepen dialogue on culture in the framework of the Eastern Partnership.
The Conference was also a good occasion to assess progress in the framework of the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme which involves the EU, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Since 2011, it has provided €9 million in support for cultural cooperation projects and €3 million for strengthening the work of public authorities.
Commissioner Vassiliou highlighted the opportunities created by the next phase of the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme, starting in 2015, as well as the new EU Creative Europe Programme, due for launch in January 2014.
Participating Ministers and Heads of Delegations agreed upon the so called “Tbilisi Declaration [38 KB] ” conveying a strong message about a shared commitment to support culture as a driver for growth and stability in the region. The Declaration will be presented to Heads of State and Government at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November 2013.