European unification is about more than just
politics and economics - it also has a huge cultural dimension. The grass-roots
initiative "Soul for Europe" focuses on cultural aspects and promotes the
idea of "a Europe by and for Europeans", not just of institutions.
cultural "soul" of Europe
is becoming increasingly important as a means of bringing Europeans together
and enhancing relations with neighbouring states and the rest of the world.
Soul for Europe http://www.bpb.de/themen/CSVKT2,0,0,A_Soul_for_Europe.html
in 2004) brings together members of civil society, scientists, academics and
representatives of the cultural, political and business worlds to discuss the
effective and sustainable use of Europe´s cultural resources.
The second conference on this subject took place
on 17-19 November. Following the successful first conference, participants are
now looking at ways of defining the concept more clearly and implementing the
initiative more effectively, especially in view of the Year of
Intercultural Dialogue 2008 http://ec.europa.eu/culture/portal/events/current/dialogue2008_en.htm
The event includes meetings with commissioners and
representatives of Europe's
Jewish and Islamic communities. Commission President José Manuel Barroso, who
will be attending the conference, notes: "The questions of what Europe
can do for culture, and what
culture can do for Europe
are not new. But, in this context, they have acquired a new sense of
In addition to conferences,
the three-year project (until 2008) works with the European-Middle East agency
Aleph to highlight Europe's
contribution to the global cultural scene. Other key aims are using the
cultural resources of south eastern Europe to boost regional development and
using feature films to showcase Europe's
cultural wealth and diversity.