Individual and collective identities are rapidly evolving
in today’s Europe, partly as a result of cross-border migration
which has increased ethnic diversity in most countries. As globalisation
gathers pace, individuals are also travelling more widely and choosing
to live and work abroad, while the Internet is also helping to break down
cultural barriers. Growing numbers of individuals, but especially
the young, enjoy “composite identities” that are no longer restricted
to a “collective identity” related to a particular ethnic or religious
However, if not managed positively, cultural differences can
lead to radicalisation, paralysing forms of conflict and even violence.
The Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media is alarmed
by the rise of anti-democratic and xenophobic political parties
in Europe and highlights the positive role of different cultures
in the building of national identities and of a European identity.
These ought to reflect contemporary realities of our increasingly
intercultural societies and positively feature diversity, pluralism
and respect for human rights and dignity.
Therefore, the committee calls for a radical change in political
discourse and action so that new ways can be found to celebrate
cultural diversity as a positive factor for innovation and development.
States should make this a strategic long-term objective by developing
a comprehensive “Intercultural Strategy” which focuses on awareness
raising and public engagement, cohesion among stakeholders, countering
racism, planning for diversity and building an intercultural economy.