Brussels, 31 January 2020,

As almost five decades of UK membership of the EU draw to an end, the UK’s withdrawal will not be the end of the road for the EU-UK relationship and the ties that bind the people of Europe. They should be recalled, strengthened and promoted.

We must remain hopeful, supportive and look to the longer term. More Europe – external cultural relations will continue to catalyse, connect and communicate the amazing work that people, artists and cultural operators are doing, that brings us closer together. And this work is not only urgent between the UK and Europe, it is necessary in wider Europe and beyond. Culture has a vital role to play in helping shorten the distance and balance the discourse.

Cooperation, exchange, and mutual learning are cornerstones of the EU’s approach to the arts and culture. Cultural exchange helps to promote understanding, which is particularly relevant now in times of multiple crises.

There is a great deal of common ground and existing collaboration between the UK and European partners in the main areas of international cultural relations: culture and creative industries; education and young people; research and innovation; intellectual and civic life. This collaboration is supported by a range of policies and instruments, some of which are dependent on EU funds and therefore at risk.

We remain determined that the arts and cultural sector in the UK will continue to spur and open to the world and that international partnerships will continue to underpin the sector’s future growth.

Now that the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, extra efforts are required to keep the ties within the cultural and creative sector strong. Culture and the arts will play an even more important role in, hopefully, a longstanding relationship between the European Union and the UK.

We believe in the power of culture to bridge divides and build stronger, more open and inclusive societies today more than ever.