“If I were to begin again, I would begin with culture”, said Jean Monnet, the founding father of the European Economic Community. Robert Schuman, co-founder of the European Community of Coal and Steel, wrote in 1963: “Before becoming a military alliance or an economic entity, Europe has to be a cultural community in the highest sense of the Word.”
Nevertheless, the European Union is steel seen by most citizens as a mere functional arrangement facilitating free trade an mutual co-operation. On the economy, the success of the single market is widely acknowledged. The European Community has also proven effective as a peace project – a framework within which national identities, and some of the conflicts they can generate, have been tempered by the consciousness of being European. However, we have more to do on cultural diversity. Whereas the first responsibility for the realization of cultural and educational rights obligations still lies with the state, a prominent place to education and culture could be laid down in the constitutional Treaty whereby Governments could be held accountable for their performance in the field of cultural rights while at the same time elaborating a template for cultural co-existence with which citizens and states can identify. The book contains the proceedings by scholars from various European Countries which were delivered at the European Cultural and Educational Forum in Bruges, 2002 and 2003, organized by the European Association for Education Law and Policy in cooperation with the College of Europe.