eipcp Policies Anticipating European Cultural Policies
10 2002

Anticipating European Cultural Policies

Position Paper on European Cultural Policies by Therese Kaufmann/Gerald Raunig, eipcp

Therese Kaufmann / Gerald Raunig

Therese Kaufmann


Gerald Raunig




commissioned by EFAH and IG Kultur Österreich;  supported by BKA, II/9


"On nous parle de l'avenir de l'Europe, et de la nécessité d'accorder les banques, les assurances,
les marchés intérieurs, les entreprises, les polices,
consensus, consensus, consensus, mais le devenir des gens?"
(Gilles Deleuze)

The European convention seeks to set up a feasible future constitution of a European Union, which will succeed in becoming both deepened and enlarged. This constitutional process is to be seen as a late condensation making the existing treaties and their interconnections transparent, controllable and criticisable, rather than a centralisation that minimizes the rights of the people living in Europe. Even more, this occasion must have wider consequences beyond a consensus of the leaders and the upcoming ratification of new constitution documents. It needs to become a constituting process, provoke ongoing conflictual debates on the future of Europe, and result in a formative period of European public spheres, in which the people living in Europe can engage.

This paper aims to intensify the debate by raising awareness about the specific functions of the contemporary cultural field, its actors and institutions in the future development of Europe, along with the convention, but also beyond. The discussion of an issue like this has to start with the preconditions, i.e. the legal framework and the current state of approaches to cultural policies at EU level. Therefore, this paper will first attempt to re-evaluate the current situation regarding cultural policies at EU level by looking at the historical development, re-reading and discussing the existing documents, and drawing attention to paragraphs that have not yet been implemented.

This paper aims to anticipate concepts that overcome the narrow discourses of cultural policy, which often seem to concentrate either on their primary counterpart, the market, or simply on themselves. As it is, cultural policy in Europe revolves around outdated notions with few links to contemporary discursive and theoretical considerations. The basis of cultural policy today seems to consist mainly of rumours from the Brussels corridors and gossip spread on the flights to and from Brussels. In order to overcome this vicious circle of traditional cultural policy talk and its hollow phraseology, to interconnect contemporary theories with contemporary cultural policies, in the second part of the paper we propose a new set of terms and concepts to be deployed in these discourses: Thus we focus on more general and crucial concepts, which serve as a basis for a new understanding of cultural policies. These include politics of difference, temporary autonomy in the cultural field, new modes of subjectification in the cultural field, transversality, participation and the creation of critical public spheres.

Finally, in the third part of this paper, we propose a preliminary list of adequate measures to be taken in order to strengthen the contemporary cultural field and to support the implementation of new cultural policies within the legal framework of the European Union. The intention of this provisional list is to provoke a continuing debate on the concrete measures and programmes, which is able to transcend the commonplaces of cultural policies. We know that this list is just a beginning. Nevertheless we feel it is necessary to design a model - fragmentary as it may be - in order to develop a broad range of concrete proposals from the abstract concepts. Our aim is to continue the work on this linkage and to intervene in the discourse throughout the upcoming months and years from the perspective of the eipcp as well as with the help of EFAH and the networks, operators and actors of the cultural field in Europe.

As the three parts of this paper represent three levels of policies/politics (from the analytical to the conceptual to the pragmatic), they necessarily make use of different styles and do not hide the discursive gaps and ruptures between the three levels. As these differences are implicitly significant for the characteristics of the respective discourses, one of the main aims and the underlying conception of the eipcp is to explore the lines that traverse the different levels of theories, practices and policies.

In this paper we did not start from scratch. Instead, we drew upon the ideas, thoughts, questions and proposals developed in numerous documents, discussions papers, debates etc. by many individuals and organisations in the cultural and academic fields. Some of these documents are listed in the annex; we apologize for not having been able to trace all the lines of authorship in recent years and to credit all those who have contributed to the process of conceptualising European cultural policies.

In this paper we take a critical stance on nationalist and localist views that have scrupulously prevented every mention of European cultural policies, based on a constrained understanding of the 'principle of subsidiarity'. In some way, this is turned upside down here. We will not take into consideration other levels of cultural policies, but will exclusively focus on possible scenarios for European cultural policies and the argument for compelling reasons to do so. However, not specifically discussing the question of the division of responsibilities and competencies among the local, regional, national and European levels does not mean abandoning the principle of a division of competencies. Instead, we urge that the concept of subsidiarity should not be used as an excuse for avoiding a critical discussion and concrete action concerning the responsibilities and opportunities of the EU. For this reason, the paper focuses on promoting diversity and the politics of difference by implementing concrete European cultural policies.

Special Thanks

to Frédérique Chabaud and Dragan Klaic (EFAH), Raimund Minichbauer and Stefan Nowotny (eipcp) for their advice and support
Editing: Aileen Derieg

I. Reconstructing the Preconditions for EU Cultural Policies

Culture in the EU: An Ambiguous Condition

Practically speaking, policies and policy action regarding culture as currently emerging at EU level seem to be caught up in a condition of ambiguity, in a state informed by inconsistency between grand ambitions on the one hand and a lack of political pouvoir on the other, between financial neglect, disinterest and its instrumentalisation as an ideological battlefield. Nevertheless, international and transnational cultural activities in Europe and beyond have significantly increased, and there is an obvious need to translate the functions that culture should and could take into concrete action in response to current political and social developments within the EU as well as in a global context.
This difficult situation is largely due to the fact that culture is bound to a relatively limited legal framework at EU level and a more than modest budget is allocated to it. The funds available cover neither the prospects and needs of the cultural sector (e.g. networking, mobility, transversal and interdisciplinary activity, as well as securing social standards for cultural actors, etc.) nor the prestigious programmes developed by policy makers, such as the various framework programmes for culture. As regards the legal basis, culture is supported mainly by one article. In the 10 years since it was included in the treaties establishing the European Community, however, this article has not produced the intended effects. Its full implementation could not be achieved.
Because it is of minor importance and yet ideologically highly charged at the same time, culture is considered a controversial issue - especially when it comes to discussing the division of competencies between the EU and its member states. In the context of the debate in the European convention and attempts to overcome conflicts of interest and power between the member states, this means that culture is clearly not one of the top priorities on the agenda. There is too much concern that culture is one of the points that cannot be negotiated without risking the eruption of new rifts between different member states, which will not be easy to bridge.
Tied to a too narrow interpretation of the principle of subsidiarity, policies and actions concerning culture in the EU remain restricted to "harmless areas" such as cooperation and exchange. Yet, a look at the actual reality of concrete action, both at the levels of the various actors in the cultural field and the so-called cultural or creative industries and the many aspects of the debate within the EU institutions, suggests that these boundaries have already been transgressed. New and wider scopes for action and for reflection have already been entered and explored - for better and for worse.

Arguing for European Cultural Policies

While the programmes and budget lines for culture meet with tremendous response, interest and engagement from a sector that has long been active at a transnational and transdisciplinary level within the EU as well as beyond its borders, and while the debate about culture in the European context and in relation to other policies and issues has long reached a stage of concrete and constructive proposals, the mention of "European cultural policies" still remains the unspeakable, a taboo.
In this paper, we intend to argue for the further development of European cultural policies mainly on the grounds of two points. First, a new momentum for European cultural policies would represent the logical consequence of a development that can be traced throughout the history of the EU, from its very beginnings up to the inclusion of Article 151 in the Treaties establishing the European Community and further. Secondly, what we now see in the EU, is that there already ARE such policies, even if they cannot be considered adequate to meet the demands and challenges of the changing European landscape and a "global" context. This applies, for instance, to the existing transnational activities of many cultural initiatives, networks, artists and intellectuals, etc. far beyond the cultural activities of the foreign offices of their countries and with support from national and international agencies as well as the EU - despite obstacles and a lack of funds. In addition, culture has meanwhile clearly assumed the position of a relevant factor with respect to employment, urban and structural development, various sectors of production and services, etc. However, - and this applies particularly to the audiovisual sector and what is generally referred to as the 'cultural industries' - there is a tendency to take a one-sided view, focusing mainly on the commercial aspects of culture.
"European cultural policies" will need to formulate a strong response and concrete action against these developments towards a one-dimensional, neoliberal understanding of culture driven by success and profit, which only employs the argument for the "preservation and protection of the cultural diversity" for its protectionist agenda. Appropriate legal, financial and political preconditions will have to be provided in order to allow the cultural field to assume its role as part of a democratic development of the EU, enabling the creation of critical public spheres. This involves a progressive approach to (cultural) diversity, difference and conflict and actively dealing with issues of social change, the so-called knowledge society, education, migration, globalisation, etc. In short, this means taking the transversal quality of culture into consideration. This is not meant to offer legitimation and justification for the support of culture, but to foster the political dimension of the cultural field in an open and democratic Europe, enabling the permeability of its boundaries and the transgression of distinctive fields.

A Historical View on a Continuous Development

From the Very Beginnings to the Inclusion of Culture in the Treaties

With the Maastricht Treaty, adopted by the European Council in December 1991, the EU formally added an article on culture to the Treaties for the first time. Until then, culture had not been recognised as a European competency, but a gradual development had led to this legislative regulation for multilateral cultural cooperation. This development can be traced throughout the history of the EU along the lines of its transition from an economic to a political union, and it is especially linked to the aspect of European "integration". Another aspect relating to culture, although more economically motivated, was the establishment of policies regarding the matter of "cultural goods and services" in the common market. In both aspects, debates and arguments have been interconnected with the idea of promoting and safeguarding "cultural diversity" in the EU, and they were supported by a variety of conventions, declarations and other instruments.
Although there were no specific legal regulations, cultural aspects were already taken into account at a relatively early stage. In the Treaties of Brussels 1948 and Paris 1954 (Western European Union), cultural cooperation was only "welcomed", but as early as 1949, the Council of Europe was established with the objective of fostering democracy, human rights and cultural cooperation. It was the first European institution to undertake an active commitment to develop cultural cooperation.
Emphasizing the international context of the promotion of cultural cooperation and preceded by the International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation (IICI), UNESCO was established in 1945 in London with the aim "to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture". The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 asserted the right to participate in cultural life as being among those conditions that are "necessary for human survival, integrity and human dignity", putting culture into a much wider political context.
In 1954 the European Cultural Convention was promoted, based on which the Council of Europe gradually took over the responsibilities of the WEU's Cultural Affairs Commission. In 1957 the Treaty of Rome stipulated "culture as exception", meaning the exception to the free circulation of goods for "national treasures possessing artistic, historic and archaeological value".
The development from the European Economic Community to a political union also involved more culture: Already in 1961, the Fouchet Plan defined scientific and cultural cooperation as one of the objectives of the Union, and between the late 60s and early 70s, culture was also related to social or regional issues as new areas within the Community's framework. Especially from 1977 onwards, the European Commission stimulated a debate on culture through a number of "communications" (1977 "Community action in the cultural sector", 1982 "Stronger Community action in the cultural sector", 1987 "A fresh boost for culture in the European community"). The 3rd communication included a chapter on cultural cooperation, which became the source of Article 128 of the Treaty of Maastricht (now Article 151 of the Treaty of Amsterdam).
During the 1980s, cultural aspects generally experienced a boost in the EU, e.g. in relation to the European Community's Official Declaration, signed 1983 in Stuttgart, which encouraged the member states to foster joint activities in cultural promotion, and first funding strategies were developed. This was often due to the efforts of the European Parliament. The Council passed several resolutions inaugurating various cultural actions, from the European cultural city event (1985) to transnational cultural itineraries (1986), some of which can be seen as first pilot experiments and forerunners for the programmes to be launched later by the Commission. The meetings of the ministers for culture were institutionalised in 1987, the Cultural Affairs Committee was set up in 1988.

Growing dynamics in community programmes

The Maastricht Treaty establishing the European Community included a special article dedicated to culture (then Article 128, now Article 151 of the Treaty of Amsterdam). This formally assigned responsibility for culture to the EU for the first time. In conjunction with this, the Commission presented a Communication on "New Prospects for Community Cultural Action" in 1992. Although the funding schemes were always limited and the new programmes for culture came only about after lengthy negotiations, a further dynamisation of cultural action took place.
A new comminication in 1994 was accompanied by the proposals for the programmes "Kaleidoscope 2000" (artistic and cultural projects of European dimension) and "Ariane" (books and reading), and one year later the Commission presented a proposal on a cultural heritage programme. In 1996, the "First Report on the Consideration of Cultural Aspects in European Community Action" was published, assessing the application of Article 151. The programme 'Kaleidoscope' was established in the same year, the programmes 'Ariane' and 'Raphael' (cultural heritage) a year later, in 1997.
In 1998 the Commission presented a single programme of finance and programming in support of cultural cooperation ("Culture 2000") and organised the first "European Union Cultural Forum" in order to review EC action in the field of culture since 1993. While the Kaleidoscope and Ariadne programmes were extended, the programme "Connect" was set up in 1999 to promote joint education and culture programmes. It successfully made use of the transversal potential of culture.
In 2000 Parliament and Council approved the programme "Culture 2000" with a budget of 167 million Euro and set to last 5 years, 2000-2004. The programme has meanwhile been extended until 2006, and discussions on a successor programme are underway.

A Continuous Development at Different Levels

This chronological outline of a continuous development of EC action in the field of culture, which was expanded and intensified from the 1970s onwards and especially during the 1980s and 1990s, clearly shows that none of the cultural actions actually started in 1993. There were a variety of cultural initiatives and activities in different fields before the Maastricht Treaty went into effect.
Evidence of a continuation of this trend is found, for example, in support for the European content industry (e.g. MEDIA), the 1989 Directive "Television Without Frontiers", vocational cultural training, education (Leonardo, Socrates), culture in regional policies, research and technological development applied to the cultural sector, etc.
One of the most significant examples to be mentioned is the financing of cultural projects through the Structural Funds since 1989, making up the greatest portion of EU funding for culture. The main objective of the four programmes INTERREG, LEADER, EQUAL and URBAN, which are among the mechanisms to distribute the Structural Funds and from which the cultural field has also benefited considerably, is to "redress regional imbalances in the Community" and to "promote stable and sustainable development". The cultural field is thus acknowledged as a major factor in pursuing these aims, namely in the areas of employment, social cohesion, regional development, IT, tourism etc. This again indicates the transversal quality of the cultural field, its interconnectedness with almost every aspect of contemporary life - and reaching far beyond the realm of cultural exchange and cooperation as the main objective of current policy action for culture in the EU. This should not serve the instrumentalisation of the cultural field or its mere justification, but rather indicate the existence of a variety of intersections that cultural policies - and not only regional, economic or development policies - should take into account.
Parallel to this development at the level of the EU institutions, complementing and more often advancing it, there has been an ongoing dynamisation of cross-border cooperation, interaction and exchange in the so-called third sector, among independent cultural initiatives and organisations of many kinds. This has included the creation of formal and informal trans-European networks, which have continuously developed their activities and competencies. Moreover, they have been increasingly concerned with raising awareness for European issues, as well as acting as an interface between the European institutions and the 'field'.
These networks have certainly been particularly affected by the precarious funding situation, which is often exacerbated by the fact that national and regional authorities do not feel responsible for supporting them, while the European institutions do not have sufficient resources to do so - let alone with a middle or long term strategy in view. Nevertheless, as in the case of the European Forum for Arts and Heritage (EFAH) and many others, networking certainly intensified from 1992 onwards. Many networks that were already founded in the 1980s, parallel to the intensification of EU measures in culture, set up coordination offices, held first constitutional meetings and expanded their networks of members, while others were created to boost mutual exchange, mobility and cooperation in the most diverse areas and aspects of the cultural field.

The legislative framework today: a close reading of Article 151

There are three articles concerning culture in the Treaty of Amsterdam: Article 3q states that the activities of the Community shall include "a contribution to education and training of quality and to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States", thus stipulating a certain responsibility of the Community in this field. Article 87(3)d addresses culture in relation to trade regulations. It authorises the Member States to provide aid for economic operators in order to promote culture and heritage conservation, provided such aid is compatible with the common market.
The main legal basis for any cultural action at EU level, however, is Article 151 of the Treaty of Amsterdam (ex-Article 128 in the Treaty of Maastricht). It asks the EU to make use of its instruments to support cultural initiatives under the twofold objective 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 to bring their common cultural heritage to the fore" (Clause 1).
This statement of principle already evokes the tension between the two most crucial conceptions in this context: an assumed commonality supported by the idea of a shared history, common heritage etc. on the one hand, and the cultural diversity of the people living in Europe that needs to be protected and safeguarded on the other. Generally, this tension is perceived not so much as a contradiction in itself, but appears easily reconcilable in what is called "the unity of diversities".
The construction of a "common cultural arena" built on a shared history and heritage with the intention to foster a 'European consciousness', an enhanced sense of belonging, is to be considered problematic, when it promotes an exclusionary, fixed and seemingly coherent conception of Europe as a cultural space, based on binary oppositions of inside and outside. A conservative interpretation of diversity insists on stable identities, forcing the concept back into an essentialist framework of consent and unification and can be as empty as reactionary.
If cultural diversity, however, does not only take into account the differences between the Member States or regions, but also within them, if it is understood as a matter of continuous processes of intersection, exchange, change and differentiation in time and space, it can be a productive concept. A progressive understanding of diversity does not only (critically) consider political, social and economic developments such as migration or current processes of increasing differentiation and individualization in society. It also neither defensively denies difference nor does it fear conflict, but implies promoting the idea of dynamic differences, which are a matter of constant exchange and negotiation.

Cooperation and Exchange

Clause 2 of the Article 151 defines the scope for community action with regard to culture as follows:
- improving 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

This can clearly be interpreted as a responsibility of the EU concerning culture, from the level of artistic/cultural production, to the level of the distribution of all cultural production including historical knowledge about it, to the level of its preservation. A progressive reading of the latter not only entails what has become part of history or heritage - tangible and intangible - but also as something that is constantly in process and enriched by what is currently being produced or happening in the cultural field in Europe. Yet, the main focus of the article lies on the issue of cooperation and exchange, notably on non-commercial cultural exchange. This is not only a remarkably clear statement, but also represents an indispensable requirement in relation to the increasing dominance of the "cultural industries" in transnational cultural activities in Europe as well as on a global scale.
However, we should not overlook the fact that in the article these activities are limited to the "culture and history" (singular!) of the European peoples. This again constructs a fixed and homogenous cultural "entity", while histories and cultures that cannot be ascribed to the "European peoples" are automatically excluded from this discourse about learning from each other, about exchange and cooperation - no matter how significant their influences on and intersections with Europe have been over time. It also does not allow all people living in Europe to be part of the aims and activities as sketched out in these lines.
Clause 3 then stipulates that "the European Union promotes measures involving cooperation between cultural operators from the various Member States and supports their initiatives and cooperation is encouraged with third countries, international organisations and in particular the Council of Europe". This opens up the closure, but not to the "non-Europeans" within the EU. Here the Union is prepared to reach beyond its borders and to take into account a wider conception of Europe in its activities, which is certainly related to the approaches and activities of the Council of Europe that preceded community action in the field of culture at many levels. Supported by agreements such as the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (1995) or the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the EU (2000), the article would enable not only cooperation in Central and South-Eastern Europe, but also the Mediterranean or in the context of a post-colonial situation.
As regards the implementation of Article 151 - and this will certainly be much more the case after the enlargement of the EU - questions must be addressed about both legal and financial preconditions for a real and successful implementation of the objective of exchange and cooperation. The question arises, whether all the Member States, regions and operators inside and outside the EU borders have the same rights and possibilities to access and participate in programmes such as 'Culture 2000' or the European city of culture - even if they are eligible to do so. There are significant imbalances and inadequacies between different regions or states, e.g. in tax regulations, the recognition of diplomas, local/national funding etc., which can pose hindrances. The divergence of cultural administration or funding systems in the various countries can represent a major obstacle, and with the new Member States joining the EU and with the members of the Council of Europe, this problematic situation becomes an even more urgent issue.
Another important point is that a future-oriented and progressive implementation of the article will have to leave behind a conservative logic of bilateral cooperation. Until now, a real understanding of the preconditions and requirements for new forms of multilateral transnational cooperation and exchange, which are often much more complex, risky and expensive, has not yet been reached in Europe. These new forms include, e.g., networking projects over a longer period of time, for which the member states mostly do not feel responsible. Based on Article 151, the EU should invest in these forms of transnational cultural action to a much greater extent. Further, conceptions of cultural cooperation should not only consider an expanded Europe and especially promote exchange with "neglected" or hitherto excluded areas, but should also apply to a global dimension, working on cooperation activities with Africa or Asia.

The Subsidiarity Principle

Article 151 comprises two different, very elementary facets: on the one hand it clearly states a responsibility and obligation for the EC to act in the field of culture. On the other hand, the scope of action is relatively limited, clearly restricted to the areas mentioned above, i.e. mainly cooperation and exchange. But most importantly, the article's implementation is subjected to the threefold restriction of the principle of subsidiarity, the exclusion of harmonisation and the unanimity requirement, as expressed in Clause 5 of Article 151. This also applies to all formal instruments concerning culture in the EU.
Regarding areas such as culture or education, which do not fall within the EU's exclusive competence, Article 5(2) of the treaty declares that "the Community shall take action, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, only if and insofar as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of scale and effects of the proposed action, be better achieved by the Community".
The Community is thus obliged to supplement and support the actions of the Member States, but it can intervene only under the condition that certain aims cannot be achieved by the Member States themselves and that an action by the EU can guarantee greater efficiency. For proof that this obligation is more than justified in many instances in the cultural field, one only has to look at the various forms of current transnational multilateral cultural activities, especially those of European networks. As stated in Article 151, these activities are also clearly defined as a shared objective of the Member States.
But the Treaty lacks a clear division of competencies between Community and Member States, and invoking the principle of subsidiarity serves all too well for some, in order to avoid any further development of policies, programmes, ideas, visions etc. at the European level. A too narrow application of the subsidiarity principle in connection with the requirement of unanimity within the Council of Ministers in co-decision with Parliament has slowed the processing of cultural programmes considerably. This seriously impedes the successful implementation of the article.
This does not mean that the principle of subsidiarity and the aspect of a division of competencies in the field of culture should be abandoned. However, a useful and future-oriented clarification of the levels of competencies will also have to entail a closer look at the very specific aspects in culture, where the shared objectives can better and more efficiently be achieved at European level. Similarly, this has become necessary in the fields of education or research, for example, in order to guarantee higher quality, an amplification of impact and the enhancement of long-term strategies. As a set of criteria for scale and reach in Europe and beyond its borders, these aspects not only legitimate a shift of competence and responsibility from the national to the European level with regard to many already existing transnational multilateral activities and cooperations. Properly implemented, this would also contribute to a further enhancement of projects and exchanges, as well as the creation of public spheres and spaces, specifically and actively dealing with the cultural dimension of European integration.

Clause 4: Great Potential and Missing Implementation

Finally, there is Clause 4, which has become one of the main focal points in the current discussion about the implementation of Article 151. It stipulates that the EC must "take cultural aspects into account under other provisions of the Treaty, in particular in order to respect and to promote the diversity of its culture". In comparison with other stipulations in the article, the formulation of this clause implies a wide-ranging field of activity and could have a considerable impact, even though the Treaty does not provide a clarification of the scope of this obligation.
On the one hand, Clause 4 marks the important recognition that culture is an issue that cuts across many different segments, and it establishes a formal relation between culture and other spheres of life, work, society, etc., which allows cultural agencies to claim a greater share of resources from programmes whose objectives are not exclusively cultural (e.g. the Structural Funds). On the other hand, it asks for a critical assessment of the impact and the effects that decisions in other policy areas might have on the cultural field (in German: 'Kulturverträglichkeitsklausel') This takes the possibility into account that cultural life and development could be impaired by other decisions, which applies to competition or other trade regulations, for example.
The experience of the last ten years has shown that the implementation of Clause 4 has not been at all satisfactory. If it were seriously implemented, however, it could create a better understanding of the relevance of culture in a variety of fields, and raise awareness for cultural issues and how they relate to other spheres and policies. This should not lead merely to instrumentalising the cultural field in order to boost certain sectors in the economy or employment, but rather to an enhanced understanding of the transversality of the cultural field.

What is at Stake in the Current Work Programmes

With this historical and legal background in mind, it is worthwhile to consider how and in which direction the debate within the institutions has most recently evolved. During the Belgian presidency, in the second half of the year 2001, the three Community institutions again took up the debate on the future of European cultural action. It was an important moment to do so, as the summit of Laeken, mapping out the parameters for the debate on the future of Europe in the Convention and leading up to the intergovernmental conference in 2004, was to take place in December 2001, and ten years of the existence of Article 151 called for an evaluation of its effects and its implementation. Yet no concrete action took effect, neither regarding the Declaration nor the Convention.
Already in July 2001, the European Parliament had published its "Report on cultural cooperation in the European Union" by Giorgio Ruffolo, which was most influential in this debate. The report was not only critical of the current situation, especially reiterating the facts of a lack of cooperation and chronic under-funding for culture in the EU (0,1% of the Community funding in 2000), but also proposed a number of concrete targets. These include the institution of a "European agency to monitor cultural cooperation, with the aim of promoting the exchange of information and coordination between the cultural policies of the Member States and Community cultural policy". Further, Ruffolo explicitly called for an increase in efforts in the area of culture and proposed "the extension of qualified majority voting in any further revision of the Treaty to ensure support for measures in the cultural sector". Based on this report, the European Parliament issued its "Resolution on Cultural Cooperation in the EU", aspiring to extend the field of cultural cooperation.
On 23 May 2002, under the Spanish presidency, the Council adopted a resolution on the implementation of a new work plan for European cooperation in the field of culture, including the priorities of establishing mechanisms to ensure that culture is represented in other Community actions and the creation of permanent institutional networks for cooperation between the various cultural sectors, in order to foster the mobility of artists and works of art.
In the meantime, a "Study on the Mobility and Free Movement of People and Products in the Cultural Sector" has been published by the European Commission. The Danish presidency focused on the "analysis and definition of the added value of European actions in the field of culture". These examples illustrate that no groundbreaking action is being taken at the level of the institutions, nor are there significant plans with respect to a further development of the legal instruments for culture in the treaty to come. Although these are important issues in themselves, they are not part of a bigger contextual and political framework, and they lack an active engagement with the future of European cultural policies.

Perspectives for the Future?

As far as Article 151 is concerned, we can conclude that in spite of all its imperfections, it provides a basis for the European Community to play an active role in terms of culture, but what it has actually achieved so far is generally disappointing. Since the inclusion of the article in the Treaties, the Community has failed to really articulate this role and take on its responsibilities.
There no longer seems to be any danger that Article 151 might be removed from the Treaty in the course of a redrafting of the division of competences. It is most likely that the article will remain in the treaties in its current fashion, that is focusing on the aspects of cooperation and exchange under the two-fold objective of contributing to the cultural life of the Member States, while paying special attention to the diversity in the EU, and including a clause on the obligation to consider cultural aspects in other provisions of the treaty.
From a pragmatic point of view this might not be the worst situation to face. However, if the cultural field is to take an active role in Europe as a future-oriented political project, the legal and financial preconditions in relation to it have to be considerably enhanced. Firstly, this asks for an interpretation of the subsidiarity principle that does not any longer deny the growing presence and the specific needs of transnational activities in the cultural field, which definitely lie beyond the possibilities and policies of the Member States. Secondly, it urgently asks for the replacement of the unanimity requirement, which hampers a dynamic development of cultural policies at EU level, by qualified majority voting in decision making. Generally, the often very lengthy processes of negotiating and decision making, bearing in most cases no relation to the budgets in question, have to be simplified and speeded up. The same goes for future programming, notably the design of the new framework programme for culture, which is to succeed the programme 'Culture 2000' in 2006.
Although the current legislation's full potential has not yet been exploited and its proper implementation would enable wider schemes of cultural cooperation, in the longer term the article in its present formulation will neither suffice nor provide an answer to the pressing questions of cultural politics and practices in Europe. Apart from its wording, which partly indicates a rigid and exclusionist conception of the European sphere, it will have to be developed and taken further according to the role that the cultural field should take in the future development of the EU. This refers especially to the conception of culture in relation to questions of democratic development, citizenship, transversality, access and participation. The debate will have to be taken up in order to overcome the rather defensive strategies of the actors in the field and to draw proactive lines of perspectives for "European cultural policies".

II. Overcoming the Vague and the Hollow.
Towards New Concepts of Cultural Politics

Culture as such is not necessarily good. Plato, in the interest of community life, symbolically banned artists, thinking they would endanger his ideal state. The Frankfurt School taught us about the "affirmative character of culture" (Marcuse) and the damage that is brought about to societies by the cultural industry (Adorno/Horkheimer), and contemporary Cultural Studies propose a fundamental critique of the indestructible, conservative and colonializing concepts of culture divided into "high" and "low".
In daily life we also learn about the negative aspects of culture being used to mobilize and direct, control and influence people: In the central and subway stations of Hamburg and Vienna for instance, the sounds of Mozart and Beethoven, distorted through the speakers systems of public transport, are instrumentalized to expel marginal groups from their familiar spaces. Along with the hype of creative industries, artists and cultural workers are increasingly forced to work in the experimental grounds of hyperflexibilisation and to function - without having been asked - as pioneers of the New Economy. And in the discourses of "cultural clashes" and "cultural wars", "cultural identity" is referred to as something that is absolutely fixed, something that separates people from one another or even incites them to kill one another.
Cultural heritage thus develops into a tool for restricting the public spheres, cultural industries turn out to induce postfordist processes of (self-)exploitation, and cultural identity becomes a concept to justify exclusion and wars.

Despite this theoretical and practical evidence, in the discourse on cultural policies (regardless of whether right-wing or left-wing) we still find the same commonplaces about "culture as such" constituting identity and bringing peace and harmony to people's lives. The usual justification strategies for culture as such still employ the classical humanistic argument without any further reasoning: When theatres and museums are in danger of being closed, it is argued that culture is a part of the human condition. To refute this, it is not even necessary to quote Adorno's statement about the impossibility of writing poetry after Auschwitz. Since culture as a pure and positive aspect of civilisation and humanity has always been reserved to the small portion of white, heterosexual bourgeois people, this never has been a democratic argument. It becomes totally inappropriate under the postmodern conditions of control society, especially whenever universal rights are instrumentalised for particular interests.

There is an urgent need to replace the hollow phraseology of culture between high pathos and technocratic speech using terms and definitions that say nothing at all. This applies not only to the concept of culture, but to all the cultural policy terms and concepts that have been ornaments of ideologies for too long and too extensively, so that they remain void of all content.
Let us briefly examine the case of the term cultural identity as an example: In most of the cultural policy papers and speeches, cultural identity is referred to as the most important positive argument for the support of culture - but again either without any argument or with the most different arguments imaginable:
- the nationalist/localist argument: Some use it in the context of a defensive, somewhat chauvinistic argument concerning one's "homeland" <heimat>, national, regional or local background. This tactic of homogenizing and standardizing a certain geographical area and its inhabitants is in fact also becoming an increasingly important instrument of populist power strategies. Constructing an artificial "we" against the absolute outside of "them" paves the way for exclusionist and racist politics. A cultural policy that takes up a discourse like this uses the concept of cultural identity for building monuments that remind us of a great past, or organizing big cultural events that are suitable for unifying collective feelings. At the European level, "identity without nation" does not solve the problem, but simply transfers it to a supranational level.
- the neoliberal argument: Others use it in the economic context of branding, of improving the image and the marketability of places, cities, states. Within this notion of cultural identity, culture is put to the service of generating a sense of authenticity and uniqueness for quasi-promotional agendas. Culture turns into a perfect tool of appropriation for the valorization of (urban or national) images and becomes a complementary measure for advertising and marketing.
- the visibility argument: Finally, some desperately use it in a smaller administrative context, losing every sense of proportions. For them cultural identity means that culture is the perfect field for raising the visibility of the European Union, for designing the corporate identity of Europe with a few crumbs like the EU-budget for cultural cooperation. A thousand EU logos on folders and websites should win the hearts of the Europeans.

If we do not want to cling to this kind of background of intellectual void with its familiar arguments, or just rely on the assumption that culture as such is good, we have to search for new arguments and to propose a set of terms and issues, which ensure that the concepts of cultural politics can be built on firmer ground. Through these new arguments, cultural politics have to become a nucleus of democratic politics. So in order to find out about the - positive, productive - political functions of culture in a future Europe, we have to risk leaving the paths of the familiar cultural policy talk and try to find new terms to express new concepts or to express concepts at all. In the sense of new concepts, we would like to propose a framework of categories to serve as a new basis for European cultural politics and for the diverse levels of cultural policies and their concrete fields of action.

Temporary Autonomy in the Cultural Field

"If the remnants of public, civic culture aim to make art appear useful to the voting population as a form of social service and tourism, then how long can the idea of artistic autonomy and its celebration of individual freedom, even in its current, transparently bankrupt form, remain useful to the de-territorialized needs of global capital?" (Gregory Sholette)

Stating that there is no implicitly positive culture as such and investigating the political functions of culture does not mean abandoning every concept of autonomy in the cultural field. On the contrary: the actors in the cultural field need a clear vision about what the functions of culture and cultural politics are and will be, in order to defend its autonomy against inroads from neoliberal globalization and its catchwords and categories like cultural/creative industries, cultural entrepeneurs and the eternal promise of bread and spectacles.
Thus, in the present situation the cultural field needs to regain new forms of autonomy. In saying this, we do not mean ideological constructions of autonomy as an imaginary realm of independence. After more than a century of aestheticism and after some decades of postfordism, what remained of this old version of artistic autonomy is only a specialized marketing tool of both conservative elitism and mass media industries. Nor do we wish to cling to a descriptive sociological concept of the autonomy of the cultural or the arts field (cf. Niklas Luhmann or Pierre Bourdieu), relying on the obvious fact that each field has its own rules and structures and therefore its relative autonomy.
At a time when the economy is breaking down borders and crashing the gates of all fields, we prefer to use more precarious concepts of autonomy, which must constantly be struggled for; concepts of critiques of power, subversion and subversive affirmation, which focus on a temporary form of autonomy. This autonomy is an autonomy of collectives, rather than one of autonomous individuals. It strives for the self-determination and self-management of these collectives, which exist only for a limited period of time. Here the cultural field seems to function like a laboratory for experimenting with new forms of organisation.
This of course is a political concept of autonomy, which basically propagates that every initiative, every institution and every project in the cultural field should act as independently as possible, and at the same time take up a specific function in the struggle against the overall dominance of global economy. Being autonomous then means not being forced to yield to the ideological pressure of financiers or other power structures, and at the same time to become a part of a cultural field through this - temporary, precarious and collective - autonomy, which provides spaces for diversity and difference in contrast to the encroaching and homogenizing tendency of economy.

The Pluralisation of Public Spheres

" [...] a European federal state that deserves the name of a democratic Europe is - in a normative view - impossible, if within the horizon of a common political culture there is no European wide integrated public sphere, a civil society of communities of interests, non-governmental organizations, citizens movements, etc. [...] in short a context of communication which reaches beyond the borders of the so far only national public spheres." (Jürgen Habermas)

Complaining about the lack of a European public sphere has already become a commonplace in recent decades, and yet an integrated sphere of this kind is not emerging anywhere at all. In the contrary, the situation seems to be growing worse. This is not only due to the strength of the national frameworks and the respective public spheres, or to the evidently increasing domination of the media markets by few transnational media corporations (which is both a complementary and paradoxical development), but also to a fundamental misunderstanding of the options, the impacts and the desirable size of public spheres and public spaces. A singular European public sphere is not only impossible, but would also be in no way productive, as long as it is not conceived in the plural. What counts is not claiming or conceptualizing a single public sphere (whether it is one exclusively for privileged classes or for an all-encompassing meta-public), but rather permanently constituting plural public spheres corresponding to the many facets of the people living in Europe: a multiplicity of public spheres, not imagined statically, but rather as the becomings of articulatory and emancipatory practices.
Such dynamic public spheres create the preconditions for mutually exchanging different positions, for the different relating to the different. Their boundaries are permeable, they themselves are neither exclusive-excluding, nor inclusive-uniforming. It is thus not a matter of consensually unifying the existing public spheres in Europe into one powerful public sphere throughout the whole of Europe, but rather of conflictually opening and multiplying them. What counts is not homogenization, but rather permanent contention, the constant renegotiation of different positions.
Accordingly, "culture" should neither be used as the last resort in constructing and reproducing national identities, nor should it be instrumentalized in the attempt to systematically construct a European identity. Rather it should be understood as a laboratory of exemplary models for the processual, constructive dynamisation of differences. Such models have developed an especially strong and diverse quality in different parts of Europe. Concrete cultural initiatives, from sociocultural centres and their experiments in collective real spaces to the virtual spaces of media arts projects, from community arts to the various forms of interventionist practices and performances between theatre and visual arts, from independent radios to netculture, have proved that they can produce specific political spaces and public spheres.
Their first advantage is that they promote the positions and the participation of minorities against all forms of majoritarian homogenization. Moreover, these public spheres in the cultural field presuppose a structure that is in opposition to two dangerous phenomena of populism today: the pluralization of cultural and media landscapes is to be supported distinctly against an increasingly transnationalised media concentration. The growing instrumentalization of direct democracy procedures by populist politics is to be fought by giving more people access to solid, serious and plural information and to small-scale decision making. Within a multitude of public spheres, they are able to actively express and exchange their needs. And where are these spheres and spaces to be found, if not in the cultural field?
But whereas the aforementioned forms of concrete cultural initiatives are based on the principles of temporariness and change, the respective cultural policies seem to concentrate on the opposite, on a retrogressive tendency to support steady institutions and even to institutionalize, to organize the stasis of movement. Even though 1968 has often been mystified as marking a great change in (cultural) policies, the changes since then have really only been of a cosmetic nature regarding public support for non-profit organisations in the cultural field in comparison with big public institutions.
It is the Member States' and the EU's duty to establish the preconditions for the production of state-independent public spheres. This means that the states have to guarantee conditions for public debate, for cultural and intellectual fora in the broadest possible forms at all levels. Freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of art mean more than to be free from pressure and censorship. Against the dominant tendency of monopoles and oligopolies controlling (cultural) markets, there has to be active state support for activating and pluralising expression, the press, the arts, so that they are free for producing public debates.
If this is the case at the regional and national levels, there is even much more need to act at the European level. Whereas public spheres exist and thrive, to a greater or lesser extent, in the European nations, there are almost no procedures and fora for European debates, there are almost no European public spheres. However, there is also a positive side to this: in the creation of European public spheres, we have the option of starting from zero, seizing a real new opportunity. Small and medium-sized cultural initiatives and media could play an important role in facilitating a Europe that is radically oriented to participation. Cultural politics has an obligation to help transform these initiatives into a heterogeneous landscape of European public spheres.

Specific Intellectuals
New Modes of Subjectification in the Cultural Field

"The engagement of artists, authors and scholars in social confrontations is becoming indispensable, especially today, as power takes totally new forms. Historical research has given sufficient evidence about the role of academic think tanks in the development and proliferation of today's world ruling neoliberal ideology. These conservative think tanks and experts are to be confronted by critical ones, in which 'specific intellectuals' (in the Foucauldian sense experts that are competent in specific fields and affairs) come together in intellectual co-operations capable of defining objectives and aims of their actions." (Pierre Bourdieu)

When French philosopher Bourdieu took up the concept of his philosopher colleague Michel Foucault, he did so in order to propose a weapon against neoliberal ideology. Artists and intellectuals should not be instrumentalized and should not expose themselves as assistants to power, but rather interconnect their competencies with experts from other fields in order to resist power, to resist majoritarian structures.

Intellectuals have positioned themselves as advocates of the universal for a long time. This of course is an old European tradition from Zola to Sartre, from Karl Kraus to Günter Grass. But Foucault proposes something completely different: Against the traditional concept of the universal intellectual thinking and talking about and for the others, Foucault demands a concept of the specific intellectual sharing his/her specific knowledge with the specific knowledge of others, thinking and talking with them, or as one of them. Whereas the structure of universal intellectuals is a structure that doubles representation and hierarchical communication and tends to get into the position of the majority, of constituted power, specific intellectuals prefer collective work and non-representational practices. In an a-hierarchical system of specific cross-connections the different competencies form a stream of constituent power (which never is supposed to become constituted power).
In contexts like this, artists and intellectuals no longer understand themselves as (part-time)citoyens, whose political activism exists independently from their work as theoreticians or artists. Instead, they weave their competencies and activities into networks that reject a clear separation between political activities on the one hand, and science or art on the other. As a consequence, the traditional separation between theory and practice, between intellectual everyday life and political exception, between aesthetics and politics is dissolved in temporary overlaps and gives way to multiple interactions and superimpositions within the subjects themselves.
Foucault's concept is indeed the basis of every progressive understanding of the political function that is to be assigned to the actors in the cultural field. It is only if intellectuals, artists and cultural workers discharge the strategies of representation, that they can assume an active role in overcoming the two contemporary models of universal intellectuals in an age of neoliberal instrumentalization: 1. intellectuals directly supporting the neoliberal power structures via think tanks, 2. "media intellectuals" (Bourdieu) feeding into the machines of spectacle and extinguishing any complex debate through reductionist and populist commentaries. To oppose these relicts and remodellings of a false universality, progressive cultural policies have to develop strategies and programmes that support models of networking specific competencies and transversal cooperation, that foster modes of subjectification such as "authors as producers" (Walter Benjamin), rather than mystifying and instrumentalizing artists and intellectuals.

From Interdisiplinarity to Transversality

Together with Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Michel Foucault introduced the term "transversality", which is to be conceived - at least in the contexts of the cultural field - as a proactive successor to the term "interdisciplinarity". Whereas interdisciplinarity has become a mainstream issue and commonplace in all forms of contemporary art and theory production, transversality tends to transcend the borders of the arts field, the academic field, or the political field. The concept of transversality does not imply a notion of certain points or disciplines as being connected, but a line of flight that constitutes new directions beyond the existing points and produces constant change. The notion of transversality is thus more than a descriptive tool in the arts world, it becomes a concept concerned with political struggles.
Firstly, transversal struggles are struggles that "are not limited to a certain country" (Foucault). So one meaning of transversality is that it constructs a radical suspension of national discourses. Of course the cultural field is an exemplary field when it comes to developing concepts and realities of Europe, a field that is permanently processing in relation to enlargement, or more broader speaking, to multilateral transnational collaboration. But such forms of multilateral collaboration are complex, risky and consequently expensive. Thus they become a crucial cultural policy issue that has to be strengthened through programmes that break the bilateral logic so many cultural politicians tend to prefer; programmes that do not consolidate the existing links and hierarchies in the cultural fields, but try to strengthen the structures that are "beneath" or "outside".
Secondly, transversality as a term contests one-dimensional, limiting and particularizing concepts. In the cultural field this concerns transsectorial activities and cooperation with different fields such as education, politics and science. Again, this does not mean repeating the commonplaces of interdisciplinarity, such as "transcending the borders between theatre and visual arts", but rather proposing and supporting new forms of collective cooperation among individuals and organisations from the most diverse sectors.
Of course actors in the cultural field are permanently creating new networking practices that surface at the intersections of different nations and different fields of knowledge, which are normally kept separate. But what is at stake is a permanent tendency to push practices that use these methods in order to achieve a transversalisation of society. The basis for this kind of transversality is a multitude of transversal structures that do not represent particular, isolated (sub)cultures, but instead traverse many different situations within a patchwork of minorities. The manifold forms of cultural initiatives in Europe need to be supported, so that they do not yield to the pressures of homogenization and particularization. These experiences and assets of transversal practices in the cultural field are to be seen as prototypes for a future republic and therefore to be disseminated as models for other fields.

Remapping Access
Culture Commons instead of Cultural Industries

In the last thirty years cultural policies in many parts of Europe acknowledged the importance of upholding the culture commons and tried to maximize equal access to culture and cultural institutions. These developments, often linked to the progress of social democracies in Europe (with concepts like the German "Kultur für alle"), do not lack certain problematic aspects: Cheap tickets for theatres, opera houses and galleries cannot solve all the problems of aesthetic quality and political relevance, and the emancipatory aspect of "culture for all" very often turned into an attitude of producing state-supported spectacles as part of populist policies. In the most negative cases, this led to unfair competition for independent cultural initiatives.
Nevertheless, the right to public access has not only transformed the surface of what is called "high culture", it has also set standards in newly emerging sectors. In order to explore and to promote new participatory kinds of citizenship, public access policies not only have to be safeguarded, but offensively extended and permanently adapted to new forms of production, e.g. in the fields of media art, digital arts, electronic and net culture.
On the other side it seems that due to the concept and the hype of the "creative industries", there is a tendency to focus on the possibilities of economic exploitation rather than on the critical, participatory and political potential of cultural content. Creative industries as postfordist versions of the huge structures of cultural industry (cf. Horkheimer/Adorno) tend to limit, rather than to expand the range and the concepts of what is mainstreamed as culture. They largely oligopolize access and thus are in sharp contrast to the perception of culture commons and public access, and to the development and empowerment of wider and more active publics.
Pluralistic developments, programmes in favour of public access and models of availability in the cultural field are the only measure to counter the fragmentation and fencing off of business-driven cultural clusters optimizing their revenue sources. To counter the trend biased towards economic reasoning (capacity audiences, indirect profitability, evaluations, etc.) it is necessary to reinforce aspects of public access and participation at all levels of policies.

Transparency Plus Participation Means Critique

When it comes to problems of transparency on the one hand and participation on the other, Eurocrats think they are referring to image problems of the European Union or to the euroscepticism of its citizens. This logic denies an important aspect of the correlation between the two topics. The main criteria of most of the reform proposals for European administration, the criteria of participation and transparency, remain empty if not related to each other. What is the use of transparency when nobody makes use of it? And what is the use of participation, if only national representatives are allowed to participate on the stage of decision-making?
The mechanisms necessary to make transparency effective are not achieving consensus or majority votes of representatives, but rather activating as many individuals and partial public spheres as possible. This is the sole and urgent alternative to the discourses of security and control that are interspersed in postmodern democracies in an extremely dangerous form. In the context of today's control society, the classical fears of the abstract state (the fear of losing the rights of participation and self-management, the fear of anonymous bureaucracies and the fear of redistribution of resources) are not to be countered by a monstrous copy of the national states' political mechanisms transformed and multiplied to the supranational level. Instead, transparency is to be extended in conjunction with stimulating a permanent and constructive critical momentum.
Critical discourse is not only the motor of democracy, it is also the only chance to make strategies for transparency useful. If no intellectual, artistic, political discourses are developed which criticise what is going on in Europe, there will be no interest, no participation in European issues at all. The respective resources, actors, institutions and initiatives of the cultural field are to be mobilized and supported for a continuous critical reflection on more general ideas about Europe, as well as for the constant expansion of participation in the debates and critique of the structures and discourses of the "official" Europe. The cultural field is the perfect ground for debates, disputes and conflicts, it is a ground for difference and diversity, it is a ground for people's permanent becoming.

III. Preliminary List of Recommendations for European Cultural Policies

measures to support multilateral cooperation in an expanded Europe and beyond

· to enable, promote and support transnational multilateral cooperation projects while taking into account their complexity and specific requirements
· to enhance mobility and cross-border cultural activities, balancing economic and social inequalities between EU Member States and other countries
· to promote and support multilinguality
· to install positive discrimination for funding projects, in which initiatives from an expanded Europe participate, especially the Ukraine, Moldavia, Byelorussia, Russia, Yugoslavia and Albania as well as the non-EU countries of the Mediterranean
· to enhance and further develop new programmes and define new targets in cooperation projects with African and Asian Countries as well as the Americas, while making use of existing agreements (EuroMED, Cotonou, etc.)

measures to support the creation and development of critical public spheres

· to support cultural initiatives that contribute to the production of critical public spheres, activate and pluralise public debates
· to support cultural initiatives that actively deal with issues of democratic politics such as equality, gender, migration and citizenship
· to enable public access and models of participation in the cultural field, especially in relation to the new information technologies
· to foster contemporary transversal research, development and theory production in the cultural field

measures to support new organisational forms of cooperation in the cultural field
· to support new models of transversal (transsectorial and transnational) cooperation
· to hold both EU and Member States responsible for supporting trans-European networks regardless of where they are based
· to enhance the building of transnational networks of smaller initiatives and organisations and facilitate their access to culture programmes

measures to implement appropriate financial and administrative preconditions for cultural activity in Europe

· to significantly increase the EU-budget for cultural activities for the benefit of innovative projects that meet the criteria of transversality, multilateral cooperation and the production of critical public spheres
· to improve the stringency and ensure the proper implementation of Article 151, notably of Clause 4, and remove the unanimity requirement
· enable faster processing of decisions in cultural policy
· to stop the funding of emblematic or symbolic projects
· to simplify application and implementation procedures, advance the whole decision process, stop the delays in contracting and payment in project administration


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