Cultural cooperation within shared space, embracing both the countries of the European Union and of Eastern Europe outside the Schengen zone, can only be achieved by supporting the international and solidarity-driven unity of the cultural community. This community should forge a network as a tool facilitating the accomplishment of the idea of the Eastern Partnership as a cultural project. An authentic involvement and practical effort of the representatives of cultural fraternities should also be supported by the local, central and supranational authorities. The Congress: an Agora of encounter and dialogue marks only the beginning…
Such and similar conclusions were drawn by over 300 participants of the Eastern Partnership Culture Congress, which was held in Lublin on 21-23 October 2011. The Congress was co-created by culture practitioners: artists, managers and operators, academics, representatives of ministries and local governments, members of NGOs and mass media partners from the Eastern Partnership countries, European Union, as well as Russia and other European countries (17 in total). The Congress was organized by: the Lublin Municipality, the Trans Kultura Foundation and Workshop of Culture in Lublin, and was co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.
PURSUING THE CONGRESS IDEAS
The debate on the development of cultural dimension of the Eastern Partnership (one of the new components of the EU Neighbourhood Policy) revolved around four topics: culture facing development, culture facing education, culture facing organizations and independence, and culture facing coexistence. In accordance with the adopted Congress model, the participants got involved in ten working groups which, through a democratic dialogue, elaborated problems, recommendations and practical solutions. Their outcomes should be taken into account by the European Commission in setting up the mechanisms for cultural cooperation between the European Union and Eastern Europe.
EaP CULTURAL COOPERATION NETWORK
Eastern Partnership Cultural Cooperation Network (a tentative name) is an organisation set up during the Congress and open to anyone involved in culture in the countries of the Eastern Partnership. Ultimately, it will serve as one of the tools supporting the implementation of recommendations formulated during the Congress.
Conclusions and recommendations presented by the working groups happened to overlap, since they were touching on the same problems. They make up a working evaluation, highlighting the most critical points, along with ideas on what relevant remedial action should be taken.