Cultural Cooperation with the Western Balkans

The European Union (EU) is committed to promoting Europe’s diverse culture in its international relations. Promoting culture as a vital element in EU international relations has been one of the three main objectives of the European Agenda for Culture. This dedication was renewed as part of the 2018 New European Agenda for Culture.

EU’s external strategy for culture

The Joint Communication 'Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations' is the cornerstone of the EU’s international cultural cooperation. The strategy has three main objectives:

1. Unlocking the potential of culture and creativity for sustainable social and economic development

2. Promoting peace and fighting radicalisation through intercultural dialogue

3. Strengthening cooperation on cultural heritage

The EU fosters cultural cooperation and policy dialogue with countries outside the EU through regional groups, international organisations and bespoke relationships with individual countries.

Candidate and potential candidate countries

The EU's Creative Europe Programme supports Europe's cultural and creative sectors. The entire region participates the in the Culture sub-programme of Creative Europe.

The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) supports the Western Balkans in their preparation for EU accession and facilitates cross-border cooperation, combining bilateral and regional support. Examples of actions under this instrument include the dedicated Call for cultural cooperation projects with the Western Balkans and joint fight against trafficking of cultural goods in the Western Balkans,  jointly implemented by the EU and UNESCO.

The Technical Assistance and Information Exchange (TAIEX) instrument and the Twinning programme.

Interreg B, which supports transnational cooperation. Three of its programmes cover partially the Western Balkans (ADRION, DANUBE and Balkan-Mediterranean).

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