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Subsidiarity monitoring in the area of culture 


Legal basis

Article 167 TFEU
Click here to see the consolidated version of the Treaty of Lisbon.

Under the Treaty of Lisbon, culture is a policy area where the Union supports, complements or supplements the actions of the Member States (Article 6 TFEU). This excludes the harmonisation of national laws and regulations in this area (arts. 167 TFEU).
Whilst the idea of formulating cultural policy at European level first arose back in the 1970s, it was not until 1991 that culture was given an official role in the European integration process, through Article 151 of the Maastricht Treaty, which states that "The Community shall contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States, while respecting their national and regional diversity and at the same time bringing the common cultural heritage to the fore".
Under the Lisbon Treaty, to create a real European cultural area, the European Union is called upon to promote cooperation between the Member States and, if necessary, to support and complement their activities in the following areas:
  • improvement of the knowledge and dissemination of the culture and history of the European peoples;
  • conservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage of European significance;
  • non-commercial cultural exchanges;
  • Artistic and literary creation, including in the audiovisual sector.
In addition, the Union must take cultural aspects into account in its action, in particular in order to respect and to promote the diversity of its cultures.
In the field of culture, incentive measures - excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States - are adopted in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure (Article 294 TFEU), after consulting the Committee of the Regions. The Council may also adopt recommendations on matters relating to culture, in which case it must also act by qualified majority.

Further information on the CoR's work in this area

The CoR commission responsible for work in this area is the Commission for Education, Youth, Culture and Research (EDUC). Click here for comprehensive information about this commission, its work programme and activities.