Cultural policy review programme
Initiated in 1986, and based on the OECD’s method of
"education system review", the Council of Europe’s flagship programme of cultural policy reviews assesses policies in member states at the request of the Government/ Minister of Culture to afford comprehensive analysis and advice, geared to optimising policy so that it provides the greatest benefit to its country's citizens.
Cultural policy models applied in Europe differ greatly: i.e., in the way they are interlinked with other national policies, the degree of centralisation, the share of public subsidies allocated, the priority given to key sectors such as heritage or contemporary arts, etc.
Yet, they are generally based on common values such as democracy, justice, equality and pluralism. The focus on key principles in cultural policy facilitates a functional approach to evaluation, which still takes account of national particularities.
Main principles held by the Council of Europe in cultural matters
Respect of identity and promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue
Respect of freedom of expression, of association, of opinion (cf. the articles of the European Convention on Human Rights)
Support of creativity
Promotion of cultural participation, democratisation of culture and cultural democracy
In the framework of the National Cultural Policy Review Programme several countries have
engaged in review and debate over the aims, models and outcomes of their policies, to glean information, analyse trends and potential, and submit this work to an independent group of experts. Turkey is the 29th country currently undergoing a cultural policy review.
The Russian Federation has started work in 2011 on a
regionally and thematically focused review. Azerbaijan and
Moldova are planning an update of their previous policy
reviews and engaging in a thematic review on public-private
partnerships in culture together with other member states
In each country, the ministry responsible for cultural affairs prepares a national
background report describing the country's cultural policy and actual situation. A group of independent European experts set up by the Council of Europe examines this work and conducts visits to the country concerned; before writing up its own report, which,
inter alia, proposes recommendations that would help optimise policies,
legislation, and practical approaches.
national and expert reports are presented to the Steering
Committee for Culture of the Council of Europe in the presence
of the Minister of Culture of the country reviewed. A national
presentation and debate in the country concerned concludes the
review procedure, which may be followed by technical assistance
/ capacity building activities. Two years after the review, the
country reports back to the Council of Europe on the
implementation of the recommendations made and has its policies
monitored through the Council of Europe's
A new methodology as of 2011 suggests regionally and
thematically focused reviews, carried out by joint research
teams (national / international) that produce one single report
A comprehensive cultural policy review is not appropriate in all cases. To study very specific policy aspects or a certain sector in more depth, transversal and sectorial reviews have been introduced (see recent activity on
European Film Policy).
Over the years, the Council of Europe programme has created a wealth of information, resulting from the analysis and evaluation of the cultural policies and systems of a growing number of countries. This has served as basis for the creation of a unique online information and monitoring system of cultural policies in Europe: