Entries with Categories Global Affairs Trials .

essay / Marianna McMillan [English version].

I. Introduction

On March 31, 2016, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini presented the new cultural diplomacy platform, whose goal is to enhance visibility and understanding towards the Union through intercultural dialogue. The fact that all influential actors are committed to this platform (from a vertical, bottom-up perspective), makes us reconsider three factors of the EU: (1) the context in which it operates; (2) the internal constraints it has to address; and (3) the foreign policy to which it aspires. However, the EU wants to give a single cultural image, with a single voice and coherent with its policies; that is why, first and foremost, the EU must defend its motto "unity in diversity". This motto means the integration of national cultures in other countries, without this integration jeopardizing the different national identities of the member states. Consequently, in its status as an international actor and regional organization, the EU is lacking when it comes to intercultural dialogue and negotiation between identities (European External Action Service, 2017). It must therefore strive in both the one and the other (intercultural dialogue and the negotiation between identities) to address threats to European security such as terrorism, cyber insecurity, energy insecurity or identity ambiguity.

The goal of this analysis is, on the one hand, to understand the importance of culture as an instrument of soft power, and on the other hand, to reflect on the influence of culture as a theoretical foundation of the new European cultural platform.

II. Unity in diversity through the New Platform for Cultural Diplomacy

If the European Union aspires to be a liberal order founded on cooperation, then to what extent can the EU be globally influential? What is undeniable is that it lacks a single voice and a coherent common foreign policy.

The fact that the EU lacks a single voice is result of the course of integration throughout history, an integration that has been based more on diversity than on equality. On the other hand, the statement about the incoherence of the common foreign policy makes reference letter to all those cases in which in the face of a coordination problem, what was agreed in the Maastricht treaty 1992 takes precedence (Banús, 2015: 103-105 and Art. 6, TFEU): competences may be of the member states, of the EU or they may be shared competences

As a consequence of the acceleration of globalization, the increase of non-traditional security threats (international terrorism, energy vulnerability, irregular migration flows, cyber threats or climate change) the idea of a common foreign policy between member states and the EU is challenged. Such threats require not only a new security paradigm, but also a new paradigm of coexistence. This paradigm shift would allow the EU to have a greater capacity to reduce radicalization and to steer coexistence towards the needs of civil societies (see European Commission, 2016). As an illustration about the new paradigm, we can name the promotion of narratives of a shared cultural heritage that financial aid to the regional integration process. However, at the same time that initiatives such as the above are implemented, skepticism towards immigrants is growing and narratives contrary to the community narrative projected by the EU are being promoted. These institutional and structural constraints - diversity and shared competences - reflect the dynamics of the cultural landscape and its unintended consequences within the EU. They also give a vision of the European project as a process of integration (unity in diversity) and European identity as a single voice. Therefore, the EU as an international actor and regional organization, based on unity in diversity, has a need to establish an intercultural dialogue and a negotiation of shared identities from within its organization (EEAS, 2017). This would serve not only to establish favorable conditions for Brussels policies, but also as an instrument or means for the EU to counter non-traditional and external threats, such as terrorism, populist narratives, cyber threats, energy insecurity and identity ambiguity.

Regarding the difficulty in distinguishing internal constraints and external threats, Federica Mogherini established the New Platform for Cultural Diplomacy (NPC) in 2016.

With the goal to clarify the terminology used previously, 'cultural diplomacy' is understood as "balance of power" according to the realist approach and as a "reflexive balance" from a conceptual approach (Triandafyllidou and Szucs, 2017). On the one hand, the realist approach understands cultural diplomacy as a subject of dialogue that serves to advance and protect national interests abroad (e.g., joint European cultural events or bilateral programs, such as film festivals, support for the strengthening of Tunisia's cultural sector, the creation of European cultural houses, the Culture and Creativity program, Communication and Culture for the development in the Southern Mediterranean region, and the NPC). On the other hand, the conceptual approach , more reflective, understands cultural diplomacy as a policy in itself. The potential of the synergies of culture for a sustainable social and economic development through individuals (e.g. cultural exchanges such as Erasmus Plus, the Instrument for development and Cooperation and its sub-programs, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the ENI Cross Border Cooperation and the Civil Society Facility) is encouraged. The application of cultural diplomacy to the EU seeks to have global visibility and influence, and on the other hand, it seeks to promote economic growth and social cohesion through civil societies (Trobbiani, 2017: 3-5).

Despite being funded by the Partnership Instrument (PI), which has as goal to foster visibility and understanding of the EU, the NPC is a balance between the realistic approach and the conceptual approach of cultural diplomacy (European Commission, 2016b). Consequently, it is a resilience strategy that responds to a new reality (resilience is understood in terms of societal inclusiveness, prosperity and security). In this reality, non-traditional security threats have emerged and in which there has been a change in the position of citizens, who have gone from being independent observers, to active participants demanding a constructive dialogue involving all stakeholders: national governments, international organizations and civil societies (Higgot, 2017:6-8 and EU, 2016).

The 2016 Global Strategy seeks pluralism, coexistence and respect for "deepening work in Education, culture and youth" (EU, 2016). In other words, the platform invests in creative Structures , such as think tanks, cultural institutes or local artists, to preserve a cultural identity, advance economic prosperity and enhance soft power.

In seeking global understanding and visibility, one sees how the EU's interest in international cultural relations (ICR) and cultural diplomacy (CD) has grown. This, in turn, reflects the EU's internal need for a single voice and a common foreign policy. This effort demonstrates the fundamental role of culture in soft power, thus creating a connection between culture and external power. Perhaps the more appropriate question is: to what extent can Mogherini's NCP turn culture into a tool of soft power? And are the strategies-ICR and NCP-an effective communication and coordination model in the face of internal and external security threats, or will it inevitably undermine its narrative of unity in diversity?

III. Culture and Soft Power

The change in the concept of security requires revisiting the concept of soft power. In this case, cultural diplomacy should be understood in terms of soft power, and soft power should be understood in terms of attractiveness and influence. Soft power, from agreement with Joseph Nye's notion of persuasion, arises from "intangible power resources": "such as culture, ideology and institutions" (Nye, 1992:150-170).

The EU as a product of cultural dialogues is a civil power, a normative power and a soft power. The EU's persuasive power depends on its legitimacy and credibility in its institutions (EU, 2016a and Michalski, 2005:124-141). For this reason, coherence between the identity the EU wishes to display and the practices it will follow is fundamental to the projection of itself as a credible international actor. This coherence will be necessary if the EU is to fulfill its goal of "strengthening unity in diversity". Otherwise, its liberal values would be contradicted and populist prejudices against the EU would be solidified. Therefore, internal legitimacy and credibility as sources of soft power ultimately depend written request on the consistency between the EU's narrative identity and the democratic values reflected in its practices (EU, 2016).

Cultural diplomacy responds to incoherence by demanding reflection, on the one hand, and enhancing that identity, on the other. For example, optimizing Europe's image through the European Neighborhood Instrument communication program and association (ENPI) help to promote specific geopolitical interests, creating more durable conditions for cooperation with countries such as Algeria, Libya and Syria to the south; and Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to the east. This is relevant in relation to what Nye coined as soft power or "co-optive power": "the ability of a country to manage a status in such a way that other countries develop certain preferences or define their interests from agreement with its own" (Nye, 1990:168). Soft power applied to culture can function indirectly or directly. It works indirectly when it is independent of government control (e.g., popular culture) and directly through cultural diplomacy (e.g., PCN). Foreign policy actors can act as advocates for domestic culture, both consciously (e.g., politicians) and unconsciously (e.g., local artists). In doing so they serve as agents for other countries or channels of soft power.

IV. Culture and foreign policy

Considering soft power as an emergence of culture, values and national policies, we can affirm that culture is both a foundation and a resource of foreign policy (Liland, 1993:8). Foreign policy, in turn, operates within the cultural framework of any society interacting at the international level. Therefore, a European cultural context capable of influencing globally (as for example, the difference in accession negotiations between Croatia and Turkey and the attractiveness of economic integration or the ability to adjust human rights policies) is necessary. Culture is in turn a resource, as the exchange cultural endows the EU with power. This new capacity of the EU allows it to learn new popular attitudes, feelings and images that are capable of influencing foreign policy, domestic politics and social life (Liland, 1993:9-14 and Walt, 1998). Another function to highlight of culture is that of information dissemination and its ability to elicit favorable opinions in the foreign nation (Liland, 1993:12-13).

Thus, cultural diplomacy is at the forefront of European foreign policy; however, this does not mean that the use of culture can replace traditional foreign policy objectives - geography, power, security, politics and economics - but rather that the use of culture serves to support and legitimize them. In other words, culture is not the primary agent in the foreign policy process, but is the rationale that reinforces, contradicts or explains its content - thus, Wilson's idealism in the 1920s can be linked to a domestic culture of "manifest destiny" (Liland, 1993 and Kim, 2011:6).

V. Conclusions

The purpose of this article has been to highlight the importance of culture in relation to soft power and foreign policy, as a theoretical foundation for understanding the logic of the EU's new Cultural Diplomacy platform. By identifying the role of culture as a fundamental part of social cohesion within the EU, we can conclude that culture has made the EU a more influential global actor. Culture, likewise, has been identified as source of soft power and as an instrument of foreign policy. But the sources of soft power -culture, political values and foreign policy- depend on three factors: (1) a favorable context; (2) credibility in values and internship, and (3) the perception of legitimacy and moral authority (see Nye, 2006). The EU has to first legitimize itself as a coherent actor with moral authority in order to be able to deal effectively with its existential crisis (European Union, 2016a:9 and Tuomioja, 2009).

To do so, the EU must overcome its institutional and structural limits by collectively confronting its non-traditional external security threats. This requires a strategy of resistance in which the EU is not identified as a threat to national identity, but as a cultural, economic and legislative entity.

This article has discussed various issues related to culture, soft power, EU foreign policy and its internal dynamics; however, it has not analyzed in depth the impact of a "uniform cultural system" and how foreign policy can influence the culture of a society. Culture is not an end in itself, nor are intercultural dialogues and the development of cultural diplomacy.

The Union must avoid the risk of evolving into a dehumanizing bureaucratic structure that favors a standard culture to counter its internal constraints and external non-traditional security threats. According to Vaclav Havel, the EU can avoid this phenomenon by supporting cultural institutions that work for plurality and freedom of culture. These institutions are fundamental to preserving the national identity and traditions of each nation. In other words, culture should be subsidized to better accommodate its plurality and freedom as is the case with national heritages, libraries, museums and public archives - or the witnesses of our past (Havel, 1992).

As a final and historical reflection, cultural diplomacy promotes shared narratives about cultural identities. To do otherwise would not only solidify populist rhetoric and internal prejudices against the Union, but would also make cultural totalitarianism, or worse, cultural relativism, endemic. To aspire to a "uniform system of culture" through an agreed European narrative would be to negotiate away pluralism and freedom and, consequently, contradict firstly the nature of culture and, secondly, the liberal values on which the Union was founded.



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European Commission (2016b). Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations. Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council.

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European Union (2017) Adminstrative Arrangements developed by the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) in partnership with the European Commission Services and the European External Action Service, 16 May (https://

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Higgot, R. (2017). Enhancing the EU's Internatioanl Cultural Relations: The Prospects and Limits: Cultural Diplomacy. Institute for European Studies.

Howard, Philip K. (2011). Vaclav Havel's Critique of the West. The Atlantic.

Kim, Hwajung. (2011) Cultural Diplomacy as the Means of Soft Power in an Information Age.

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Categories Global Affairs: European Union World order, diplomacy and governance Essays

essay / Celia Olivar Gil [English version].

The global context continues to pose new challenges to European collective action at subject of development, the most important of which is migration from the Southern Mediterranean and the difficulty of articulating a well-articulated joint reaction. Aware of the urgency of status, the European Union is trying to offer a new and ambitious response in the form of the New Consensus on development (hereafter 'Consensus') which also coincides with the review of the Millennium Development Goals by the United Nations.

The Consensus is a 'framework of action' to promote the integration and coherence of cooperation to development of the European Union and its member states. This framework of action requires the adoption of those changes necessary for both EU and national legislation to comply with the diary 2030 of development Sustainable proposal by the United Nations and with the agreement of Paris on climate change.

The Consensus maintains the eradication of poverty as its main goal, goal , but includes a novel vision, proposing that poverty be addressed from a triple economic, social and environmental perspective. In addition to the eradication of poverty, the Consensus aims to achieve diary 2030, and to this end articulates its five pillars: population, planet, prosperity, peace and cooperation. To this articulation, the Consensus adds some novel and cross-cutting elements, which are: emphasis on youth (meeting the basic needs of young people such as employment); gender equality; good governance (achieving a rule of law that guarantees human rights, promoting the creation of transparent institutions, participatory decision-making and independent and impartial courts); mobilization and migration; sustainable energy and climate change; Investment and trade; innovative engagement with countries at development more advanced (building new partnerships with these countries to implement diary 2030 here); domestic resource mobilization and use (effective and efficient use of resources through the "raise more, spend better" initiative).



In order to achieve all the initiatives and objectives set out above, the application of the Consensus extends to both the policies of the European Union and those of all its member states. In addition, it emphasizes that the Consensus should also be applied in new, more tailored and more multilateral partnerships involving civil society and greater participation of partner countries. The means of implementation combine traditional financial aid with more innovative forms of financing for development, such as private sector investments and mobilizing additional domestic resources for development. In terms of follow-up, the new consensus will have a regular monitoring mechanism, including accountability through the European Parliament and national parliaments and reporting obligations.

Initial assessments of the new consensus agree that it is a good synthesis of the international concerns of development. However, it raises some criticisms regarding the effective capacity to address these concerns.

First of all, as the Overseas Development Institute points out, it is not a real strategic plan, but a set of unconnected priorities. development For it to be a real strategy, the roles of the Commission and the member states would need to be determined, the thematic, sectoral and geographic priorities defined (the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contained in the diary 2030 are treated with equal importance), and new European institutions built or existing ones (such as the International Climate Fund) used to coordinate national funds more effectively. Likewise, the Consensus should determine the form and content of cooperation with income countries average, establishing horizontal, vertical and sectoral coordination. At the same time, this coordination would require the establishment of a division of tasks within the EU to achieve a better use of resources.

Secondly, and from agreement with James Mackie (head of the department learning and quality of the European Center for the development) it is difficult to perceive to whom it is addressed and what exactly it demands. The fact that geographic and sectoral priorities remain undetermined leaves the Degree commitment of member states uncertain and if there is commitment, it will be tactical rather than explicit.

The third criticism is related to its implementation. Although the consensus is ambitious in its objectives, it lacks an adequate institutional framework and an efficient mechanism to implement its new proposals. In addition, it gives the private sector a very important role, without providing it with transparency in cases of human rights abuses or environmental damage, as Marta Latek, researcher at EPRS (European Parliamentary Research Service) explained

In terms of its objectives there are many influential actors such as CARE (the international confederation of development) who agree that it focuses too much on migration control and does not prioritize the needs of the poor. This can be seen in the fact that both in the framework cooperation with other non-EU countries, as well as the external investment plan, it prioritizes the security and commercial interests of the EU before helping the population out of poverty.

A fifth criticism makes reference letter to the political dimension. The new Consensus should integrate a holistic as well as a sustainable security concept to connect the problems of stability and democracy with those of security in EU foreign affairs. A holistic concept of development means a vision of lasting sustainability, encompassing aspects such as the condition of sustainability, social justice or democracy. (Criticism according to Henökl, Thomas and Niels Keijzer of the German Development Institute).

Finally, as far as financing is concerned, the European Parliament continues to ask member states to donate 0.7% of their annual budget for cooperation to development. Given that very few of them are able to give this 0.7%, the consensus is on the importance of private sector participation via the European External Investment Plan.

In conclusion, this document reflects the needs of the current global context but requires a series of changes in order to be fully effective and a true strategy. These changes are necessary to prevent the Consensus from remaining only theoretical.



Questions and Answers: New European Consensus on development: 

The new European Consensus on development: EU and Member States sign a joint strategy to eradicate poverty:

The proposed new European Consensus on Development Has the European Commission got it right?

New European consensus on development Will it be fit for purpose?

Seven critical questions for review of 'European Consensus on Development '

The Future of the "European Consensus on Development"

European Union Development Policy: Collective Action in Times of Global Transformation and Domestic Crisis

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