Beyond Enlargement: Opening Eastwards Closing
Cultural cooperation in the Mediterrenean
From 13 to 16 November, over 60 cultural operators and policy
makers from both shores of the Mediterranean gathered at the Escuela
de Traductores de Toledo to attend the third Enlargements of Minds
seminar, dealing with the European enlargement from a Mediterranean
The European Cultural Foundation launched the action-line "Enlargement
of Minds' to discuss the cultural consequences of the European enlargement.
After seminars on the Balkans (Amsterdam, June 2003) and Eastern
Europe (Krakow, Octover 2003), North-South relations were the main
topic in Toledo, with the aim of proposing a set of concrete recommendations
for actions and tools needed for an improved cross-border collaboration.
But is 'the new Europe' at all an issue in the Mediterranean? Isn't
its impact on cultural cooperation with the Southern neighbours
a 'non-issue' in the current troubled international context where
walls and wars hamper mobility and each day people try to enter
'fortress Europe' by rickety boats?
Indeed, immigration is playing a large role in current Euro-Med
relations. According to 'migrant' authors Abdelkader Benali and
Antonio Lozano, the media are an important tool to change the image
of the immigrant. 'Only now, the second generation is trying to
formulate a hybrid identity, linked both to the motherland and the
new home. Integration often means taking on multiple identities,'says
Benali during a panel discussion. However, it is still difficult
for Europe to accept the melting pot concept, according to his colleague
Lozano. 'We suffer from loss of historic memory. Immigrants in the
60s were invited to fulfill an economic need, whereas nowadays,
illegal immigrants come uninvited, which is a totally different
context. We should try to understand the immigrants, and break through
cycles of fear. Especially culture should play an important role.'
Kirsten van den Hul
European Cultural Foundation