Rene Wanner's Poster Page

News: The European Union likes student posters but not age discrimination
March 2, 2009, received from Gilbert Gascard, Director, Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency

The European Union has now replied to my protest email to Jan Figel, EU Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, about age discrimination in a poster competition that they sponsor: Dear Mr Wanner,

Thank you for your email of 19 January 2009 addressed to the Commissioner Figel' concerning the "European Youth Poster Competition on a social topic" conducted by the Brumen Foundation which is currently funded under the Culture Programme 2007-2013. You expressed your concern about the age limit set by the promoters of the project to participate in the competition.

For the purpose of clarifying this matter, please note that EU funding is always awarded in conformity with the values common to all Member States as stated in the Treaty on European Union and in particular with the principle of non-discrimination. In order to guarantee the compliance with this fundamental value, the non discrimination principle is strongly affirmed in the Decision establishing the Culture Programme . To this purpose, the Programme places a strong emphasis on the common cultural values and roots of European citizens as a key element of their identity and their membership of a society founded on freedom, equity, democracy, respect for human dignity and integrity, tolerance and solidarity, in full compliance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Indeed, Community grants within the Culture Programme are awarded with a view to contributing to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States, while respecting the above mentioned principles and the selection processes are conducted in conformity with the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities.

The Decision establishing the Culture Programme also provides that a particular attention should be paid to the interface of Community measures in the fields of culture and education and to actions which promote exchanges of best practice and closer cooperation at European level.

Accordingly the Culture Programme supports the participating Member States in their actions in order:
- to promote the transnational mobility of cultural players;
- to encourage the transnational circulation of works and cultural and artistic products;
- to encourage intercultural dialogue

Each year a wide range of projects are supported in all cultural disciplines (Visual arts, Performing arts, Architecture, Cultural Heritage, Design and Applied arts, Literature). In conformity with the objectives pursued by the Programme, these projects can nevertheless focus on specific public groups such as students or young professionals of the cultural sector, Cultural institutions, Culture specialists, Minorities, etc.

Regarding the case of the Brumen Foundation, the project offers students in graphic design the opportunity to exhibit their artworks across Europe as well as to study and to exchange know-how. The "European Youth Poster Competition on a social topic" is organised in cooperation with Universities from across Europe. The promoters of the project will select 30 poster artists among the Universities' students who will compete with their works on the subject of climate changes. In addition to the competition, the promoters will organise a three days workshop for 110 students and 10 senior art professors.

The promoters have chosen to focus their project on a specific target group, namely the students in graphic design. This decision does not impact the quality of the project and remains under the responsibility the promoters. The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, which is in charge of the follow-up of this project, will however, write to the promoters to inform them about your protest and to remind them of their obligations as regard to the principles promoted by the Programme.

Please allow me to assure you that the Culture programme will continue to comply with the highest quality standards and rules. This will enable the highest quality projects to be funded, while generating the widest possible impact at European level.

Yours sincerely,

Gilbert Gascard
EACEA - Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency
BOUR 04/60 - Rue Colonel Bourg 135-139
B - 1049 Bruxelles
Or, to summarize, in Twitter style, "The European Union likes student posters but not age discrimination".

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