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Access to cultural life for people with disabilities

02-12-2019

Despite the additional barriers they face, artists with disabilities make a creative contribution to cultural life. People with disabilities should also have equal access to works of art and be able to enjoy cultural life on a par with all citizens. The United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities entered into force in 2011. It enshrined, among other rights, the right of people with disabilities to access cultural venues such as theatres, cinemas and museums, and to enjoy ...

Despite the additional barriers they face, artists with disabilities make a creative contribution to cultural life. People with disabilities should also have equal access to works of art and be able to enjoy cultural life on a par with all citizens. The United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities entered into force in 2011. It enshrined, among other rights, the right of people with disabilities to access cultural venues such as theatres, cinemas and museums, and to enjoy cultural materials, books, films and music in an accessible format. It also highlighted the right of people with disabilities to participate in cultural life as both amateur and professional artists. The European Union, party to the Convention, is committed to working on legislation, and implementing and promoting programmes and actions in favour of these rights. The EU disability strategy is a step in this direction. It also covers the cultural rights of 80 million people with disabilities in the EU. According to a public consultation on disability issues carried out in accordance with the recommendations of experts from the Member States working on access to culture, such access is an important area that the EU should address. Various EU funds contribute financially to research and innovation, cultural and infrastructure projects, and programmes promoting the right to cultural life of people with disabilities within this framework. In October 2018, the EU also ratified the Marrakesh Treaty, administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization, to facilitate access to published works for people who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled. The EU effectively became a party to the treaty as of 1 January 2019, committing to set mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of the blind, visually impaired, and otherwise print disabled. The European Parliament and its Disability Intergroup, established in 1980, promote the rights, including the cultural rights, of people with disabilities.

European Capitals of Culture: In search of the perfect cultural event

28-11-2019

Between 1985 and 2019, 60 cities have held the title of European Capital of Culture – most recently Matera in Italy and Plovdiv in Bulgaria in 2019. Initiated in 1983, by Greece's then Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, the concept took shape two years later as an inter-governmental initiative under the name of the 'European City of Culture'. The success of the event was such that in 1999, the Council of the EU transformed it into a Community action, and created a more transparent rotational system ...

Between 1985 and 2019, 60 cities have held the title of European Capital of Culture – most recently Matera in Italy and Plovdiv in Bulgaria in 2019. Initiated in 1983, by Greece's then Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, the concept took shape two years later as an inter-governmental initiative under the name of the 'European City of Culture'. The success of the event was such that in 1999, the Council of the EU transformed it into a Community action, and created a more transparent rotational system for the designation of the titleholder. The selection procedure – last modified in 2014 – places particular focus on the monitoring of proposals, the enhanced European dimension of projects, improved competition between candidate cities, and the redefinition of the selection panel role. As more and more cities enter the European Capitals of Culture race, substantial sums of money are being spent, including on the bidding process. While in the early years of the programme (1985 1994) the average operating budget was around €25 million per city, this amount has more than doubled to reach some €60 million per city for the period 2007-2017. With rising budgets, there is also increased scrutiny of cities, national governments and the EU, as to the wider benefits in terms of the cultural development, social cohesion and city image that most bids promise. This, in turn, has led to more frequent and sophisticated monitoring and evaluation of the whole process, both by the European Commission and by the host cities themselves. The symbolic celebration of European cultural identities is however closely tied to the economic success of the operation. According to experts, over time a number of conflicts and tensions have become apparent due to the multiple and sometimes contradictory objectives of the event, e.g. economic and cultural, to name just two. Additional criticism includes failure to enable local ownership, difficulty in overcoming social divides and exhaustion of local resources. Notwithstanding that, ex-post evaluations of the event show that in general it boosts economic growth and tourism, helps build a sense of community and contributes to urban regeneration.

Solvay Library to become the 'Library of Europe'

26-11-2019

Thanks to the European Parliament, the old Solvay Library will soon once again fulfil its original purpose as a European cultural centre. Founded by Belgian industrialist Ernest Solvay, the library of the Brussels Institute of Sociology made its mark through the originality of its architecture and functional layout. Designed in 1902 as a working laboratory for research in the then emerging field of social sciences, it soon became the hub of an international documentation network, using a pioneering ...

Thanks to the European Parliament, the old Solvay Library will soon once again fulfil its original purpose as a European cultural centre. Founded by Belgian industrialist Ernest Solvay, the library of the Brussels Institute of Sociology made its mark through the originality of its architecture and functional layout. Designed in 1902 as a working laboratory for research in the then emerging field of social sciences, it soon became the hub of an international documentation network, using a pioneering system for the classification of books and periodicals. The library, a listed building that has been fully restored to its original condition, will soon open its doors to the public and thus fulfil its original destiny, under an agreement between the European Parliament and the Belgian authorities.

Creative Europe programme 2021-2027

26-11-2019

Having considered the possibility of merging the Creative Europe programme with other programmes supporting European values, rights and justice, the European Commission has decided to continue the Creative Europe programme as a stand-alone programme, increasing its budget by 17 %. The only programme focusing exclusively on cultural and creative activities and enterprises, it falls under the 'Cohesion and values' heading of the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework. The existing programme focuses ...

Having considered the possibility of merging the Creative Europe programme with other programmes supporting European values, rights and justice, the European Commission has decided to continue the Creative Europe programme as a stand-alone programme, increasing its budget by 17 %. The only programme focusing exclusively on cultural and creative activities and enterprises, it falls under the 'Cohesion and values' heading of the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework. The existing programme focuses on the economic dimension of the cultural sector and its contribution to job creation and economic growth. Some stakeholders have voiced concern at taking such a strongly economic approach to culture. Under proposed programme, the economic dimension is one axis alongside the social dimension, and culture's contribution to international relations. The proposed framework for cultural policy therefore highlights not only the economic dimension of the cultural and creative sectors, but also the role of culture in social cohesion and its relation to creative and artistic freedom and diversity, and freedom and plurality of media. Both Parliament and Council have agreed positions on the proposal, and trilogue negotiations started in autumn 2019 with a view to finding agreement before Council’s first reading. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Cultural heritage in EU discourse and in the Horizon 2020 programme

22-11-2019

The EU recognises its Member States' collective cultural heritage both as a European legacy and as a contributor to EU growth and development. That is why, the Horizon 2020 programme was singled out as one of the 'new generation of EU instruments' to safeguard and enhance the EU's cultural heritage. Between 2014 and early 2019, €495 million was invested in Horizon 2020 research actions related to the EU's cultural heritage to achieve this goal, and experts recognise programme’s achievements. The ...

The EU recognises its Member States' collective cultural heritage both as a European legacy and as a contributor to EU growth and development. That is why, the Horizon 2020 programme was singled out as one of the 'new generation of EU instruments' to safeguard and enhance the EU's cultural heritage. Between 2014 and early 2019, €495 million was invested in Horizon 2020 research actions related to the EU's cultural heritage to achieve this goal, and experts recognise programme’s achievements. The new 2021-2027 Horizon Europe programme should continue and enhance its support as well as contribute to keeping the legacy of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage.

Commitments made at the hearing of Margaritis SCHINAS, Vice-President-designate - Promoting the European Way of Life

22-11-2019

The Vice President-designate, Margaritis Schinas, appeared before the European Parliament on 03 October 2019 to answer questions from MEPs in the Committees on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Culture and Education, Employment and Social Affairs. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission ...

The Vice President-designate, Margaritis Schinas, appeared before the European Parliament on 03 October 2019 to answer questions from MEPs in the Committees on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Culture and Education, Employment and Social Affairs. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: - Skills, education and integration; - Finding common ground on migration; and - Security Union.

Commitments made at the hearing of Mariya GABRIEL, Commissioner-designate - Innovation and Youth

22-11-2019

The commissioner-designate, Mariya Gabriel, appeared before the European Parliament on 30 September 2019 to answer questions from MEPs’ in the Committees on Industry, Research and Energy and on Culture and Education. During the hearing, Ms Gabriel made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to her portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to her by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: - Education, ...

The commissioner-designate, Mariya Gabriel, appeared before the European Parliament on 30 September 2019 to answer questions from MEPs’ in the Committees on Industry, Research and Energy and on Culture and Education. During the hearing, Ms Gabriel made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to her portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to her by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: - Education, research and innovation; and - Culture, youth and sport.

Arts in the digital era

21-11-2019

Arts and technology have always been inter-related. Artistic expression has been facilitated thanks to technological innovation that enabled artists either to adapt technologies meant for other purposes, or to invent them as a way to foster the creative process. The past 30 years have seen the rapid development and deployment of digital technology, and an ever-increasing use of information and communications technologies for all sorts of needs, including artistic expression. One of the most recent ...

Arts and technology have always been inter-related. Artistic expression has been facilitated thanks to technological innovation that enabled artists either to adapt technologies meant for other purposes, or to invent them as a way to foster the creative process. The past 30 years have seen the rapid development and deployment of digital technology, and an ever-increasing use of information and communications technologies for all sorts of needs, including artistic expression. One of the most recent innovations, artificial intelligence, has already found its way into artists' studios and the creative process. The European Union faces international competition not only with regard to technological progress and art markets but also to the use of new technologies for artistic expression. Therefore, to keep their competitive edge, EU artists need to acquire skills and competences also in high-tech fields, and the research and innovation community needs to keep abreast of evolving developments. The EU is soon to adopt its financial framework for the next budgetary period (2021-2027) and is discussing the levels of funding for its various support programmes, such as those for research and innovation, for cultural and artistic activities, and for the accomplishment of its digital single market, which among other things allows diverse operators and consumers to meet and interact. The discussions on these funding programmes also touch upon funds for projects on the interaction between arts and technology.

Louise Weiss - Campaigner for liberty

20-11-2019

Throughout her career in the public eye, Louise Weiss was both a writer and an activist. She was among those who promoted the European ideal on the basis of their experiences during the First World War. Like many other people who were similarly influenced, Louise Weiss was a product of the borderlands, her family having come from the part of eastern France that had been annexed by Germany in 1871. Louise Weiss devoted her life to various campaigns, which can be seen as having been mutually reinforcing ...

Throughout her career in the public eye, Louise Weiss was both a writer and an activist. She was among those who promoted the European ideal on the basis of their experiences during the First World War. Like many other people who were similarly influenced, Louise Weiss was a product of the borderlands, her family having come from the part of eastern France that had been annexed by Germany in 1871. Louise Weiss devoted her life to various campaigns, which can be seen as having been mutually reinforcing: the battle for women's rights, the battles for Europe and for freedom for the nations of central Europe, and the intellectual struggle to analyse and eradicate the roots of war. At different times in her life, she was a journalist, a politician, a committed intellectual and a maker of documentary films in many parts of the world. Her commitment to Europe remained the underlying theme of everything she did, and in 1979 she successfully stood as a candidate in the first elections to the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage. As the oldest member of the assembly, she gave the inaugural speech, before handing over the presidency to another woman who had campaigned for Europe, Simone Veil. Today, the building in which the European Parliament has its plenary chamber in Strasbourg is named after Louise Weiss.

LUX Prize: Showcasing European cinema

29-10-2019

Every year since 2007, the European Parliament LUX Film Prize has shone a spotlight on European cinema. Over the past 12 years, the prize has helped promote over 100 films, supporting the dissemination of European (co-)productions in a bid to overcome the language and distribution barriers the European film industry faces. Prize-winners have been very successful in the EU and beyond, making the LUX Prize a synonym for quality film-making. The LUX Film Prize focuses on fundamental EU values, such ...

Every year since 2007, the European Parliament LUX Film Prize has shone a spotlight on European cinema. Over the past 12 years, the prize has helped promote over 100 films, supporting the dissemination of European (co-)productions in a bid to overcome the language and distribution barriers the European film industry faces. Prize-winners have been very successful in the EU and beyond, making the LUX Prize a synonym for quality film-making. The LUX Film Prize focuses on fundamental EU values, such as the fight against poverty, the need to combat violence against women, and the integration of vulnerable communities.

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