Culture, Cities and Identity in Europe


As President of the Various Interests Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
I strongly recommend this study on ‘Culture, Cities and Identity in Europe’ which was commissioned
by the EESC.
At the heart of this study are the following questions: can Culture help us to overcome the systemic,
political and identity crises which are currently shaking the European Union? What role can Culture
and Cities play in strengthening social and territorial cohesion, in engaging in dialogue and building
trust in our complex societies? Can Culture bring Hope, New Narratives and a second Renaissance to
Culture has an enormous untapped potential for becoming a unifying and mobilising instrument in
Europe. It is my firm belief that at a time when extremism is increasing unabated, at a time when our
citizens are questioning their common identity more than ever since 1945, now is the moment to
firmly place Culture and cultural policies at the heart of the European political agenda! Now is the
time to invest in the sector and to support the plethora of actors engaged in cultural governance. Now
is the time to include Culture as a tool of soft power in Europe’s External Relations and to promote
Culture as the 4th Pillar of Sustainable Development! As Jean Monnet wisely stated: “If I had to do it
again, I would begin with culture”.