DG EAC's reach-out strategy

Along with the redefinition of its policy agenda, DG EAC set in place a 'reach-out' strategy, directed at other Commission services, the cultural sector broadly defined and 'civil society'. First of all, DG EAC initiated a bilateral dialogue with other DGs within the Commission. The Cultural Agenda had defined the mainstreaming of culture in all relevant policies as a key objective. To this end, an inter-service cultural group was created to allow for a better dialogue between the different DGs. For DG EAC, the challenge consisted in pointing to the presence of cultural elements in other, formerly seen as unrelated, policy areas (Littoz-Monnet, 2009). For instance, DG EAC established a joint action plan with DG Regional Policy (DG Regio). To this end, it sought to demonstrate the interconnection between culture, regional development and cohesion policy by ordering a study on the contribution of culture to regional development, specifically produced to justify greater cooperation with DG Regio (Center for Strategy and Evaluation Services and ERICarts, 2010). Given the weight of DG Regio's budget, the partnership certainly represented an opportunity to access funds via the 'development' door. But it was also a means for DG EAC to influence modes of thinking within other Commission services. To illustrate, for the first time in 2009, DG EAC was invited as a participant to 'open days', jointly organised by the Committee of the Regions and DG Regio. For DG EAC, this represented a chance to 'reach a new public' (Littoz-Monnet, 2009). The 'filtering in' strategy was not as easily set in place with DG Internal Market and DG Competition. However, the 2009 European Year of Creativity and Innovation (EYCI) institutionalised the link between culture and broader economic objectives: DG EAC and DG Enterprise and Industry were responsible for the implementation of the EYCI.

The Cultural Agenda also provided for 'Structured Dialogue' with the cultural sector and civil society as a key operational objective. Three platforms were set in place: the 'Intercultural Dialogue', the 'Access to Culture' and the 'Potential of Cultural and Creative Industries' platforms (European Commission, 2014b). The traditional interlocutors of DG EAC had been those cultural actors which benefited from the Culture programme (Littoz-Monnet, 2007). The platforms allowed for the involvement of organisations which 'represent if possible a whole sector... have a certain reach' and are located beyond DG EAC's 'comfort zone' (Littoz-Monnet, 2009). Thus, the Structured Dialogue represented an excellent tool for DG EAC's reach-out strategy, aimed at developing a coalition of interests between the traditional cultural sector, essentially grouping musicians, artists and authors, and the cultural industries. It should be noted, however, that the participation of civil society in the process was narrowly restricted to structured interests in the sector, that is, professional associations and a handful of powerful private lobby actors. DG EAC used the flag of civil society participation even when it actually fostered interactions with economic interest groups representing a strong support constituency for its new agenda. Conflict expansion was therefore a key element in the agenda-setting tactics of DG EAC.

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