Europeans are faced today with major societal challenges stemming inter alia from cultural diversity, industrial changes, demographic developments and strongly increased global migration. Those challenges must not lead to societal rifts and the creation of parallel societies in Europe; they must not threaten the process of European co-operation and integration.
The mental or moral development of people and greater societal cohesion depend largely on social competencies rather than mere knowledge or material support. Humanity, tolerance and openness are vital for all people in Europe, in order to resist cultural exclusion and violence.
In this context, several countries have had good experiences by educational programmes for culture, music and the arts, especially with young people, people from diverse cultural backgrounds, disadvantaged people as well as people with disabilities. Those examples should inspire policies throughout Europe.
The intensity of the current challenges requires that the Parliamentary Assembly revisit its past work on cultural education, raise awareness among politicians and educators, and call on national parliaments and governments to strengthen their action in this area in order to prevent a fragmentation and dehumanisation of our societies.