The Covid-19 pandemic had and still has a crushing effect on cultural and especially the work of international cultural relations. Activities and collaborations worldwide are cancelled or postponed, several cultural venues are forced to close their doors and also artists and organizations are severely affected by the abrupt discontinuation of their activities.

It is important that the crisis will only be resolved, the global cultural sector will only recover, and international relations will only be restored if peoples of the world are enabled to meet and cooperate freely with one another. Therefore, we must adapt our way of working in the digital realm, finding new, hybrid ways of doing cultural relations beyond the crisis.

In addition, cultural relations can play an important role in the global economic recovery because it is driven by cultural creativity, innovation and access to knowledge. Cultural and creative industries represent around 3% of the global GDP and 30 million jobs. Creating cultural goods and engaging in culture does create a significant amount of jobs – jobs that bring value, empathy, peace and a sense of belonging to communities.

Above all, cultural relations can be at the heart of the solution to remain connected, resilient and in good shape in the current situation. Cultural relations strengthen the idea of a shared Europe, increasing its self-reflection towards a common awareness of joint values.

Culture, moreover, can play a key role in the aftermath of the current crisis. As culture has proven to be essential in sustaining our societies in moments of crisis, culture should be protected from budget cuts in the post-crisis financial frameworks and EU budgets for culture should be substantially increased.

To continue peace building, reaching out to people worldwide through culture is very much needed. Last, but not least let us keep in mind - culture brings inspiration, comfort and hope into people’s lives!

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About the European Union National Institutes for Culture

EUNIC – European Union National Institutes for Culture – is the European network of organisations engaging in cultural relations. Together with our partners, we bring to life European cultural collaboration in more than 90 countries worldwide with a network of over 120 clusters, drawing on the broad experience of our members from all EU Member States and associate countries.

EUNIC advocates a prominent role of culture in international relations and is a strategic partner of the EU, actively involved in the further definition of European cultural policy. EUNIC is a platform for knowledge sharing and for capacity building amongst its members and partners.

Through culture, EUNIC strives to build trust and understanding between the people of Europe and the wider world. We work to make culture count in international relations.