Subsidiarity, Cultural Diversity and the EU-Korea Protocol on Cultural Cooperation

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Since the first discussions on the audiovisual sector in progressive liberalization agreements like the GATT (1947), the European Union (EU) and its member states have struggled to deal with the treatment of hybrid cultural and economic policy domains such as the audiovisual sector along subsidiarity lines. The aim of this chapter is, firstly, to explore the concepts of subsidiarity and global subsidiarity, especially in relation to global media policy. Secondly, it studies the ways in which several institutions (notably the EU institutions, member states and international organizations) interrelate in 'trade and cultural' policies. The so-called 'Protocol on Cultural Cooperation' that the EU concludes on a bilateral basis with trade partners are the focal point of attention. The protocols serve the purpose of enforcing the Unesco Convention on Cultural Diversity in third countries and 'mainstreaming' EU cultural policies worldwide. The chapter, which is based on a literature study, document analysis and some expert interviews, concludes that subsidiarity and, in particular, global subsidiarity offer theoretical and political (yet, rarely powerful legal) grounds to incorporate cultural considerations into international trade policies. However, and this is a second and equally relevant conclusion, both the Cultural Diversity Convention and the Protocol on Cultural Cooperation concluded by the European Commission show that subsidiarity is too often grasped as a mere power play between institutions, instead of as a tool to open up international trade negotiations to multi-stakeholder discussions and multi-level governance delineation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKVAB Contactforum Proceedings
EditorsJan Loisen, Ferdi De Ville
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)978-90-6569-109-5
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameSubsidiarity and Multi-Level Governance


  • Subsidiarity
  • Multi-Level Governance
  • Protocol on Cultural Cooperation
  • Cultural Diversity


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