The EU and UNESCO issued a joint statement in 2013 referring to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding a year earlier. In doing so, they reaffirmed shared values, such as respect for human dignity and rights, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and, above all, the right to freedom of expression.

Education, culture, the media, and science are all areas in which the EU and UNESCO expressed their desire to cooperate.

The EU and all its Member States are parties to the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which serves as a framework for EU policy on culture in its external relations, including trade and development cooperation. As such, the EU:

International trade

EU trade policy takes account of cultural considerations, as required by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Articles 207.4 and 167.4) and the 2005 UNESCO Convention.

Cultural aspects are taken into account in the Doha Development Agenda, the round of multilateral negotiations launched by the World Trade Organizations' members in 2001, and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), initiated in April 2013 by 23 WTO members.

The EU has concluded in recent years a number of cultural cooperation protocols, in line with a key provision of the UNESCO Convention (Article 16 on preferential treatment for developing countries' artists, cultural goods and services), including:

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