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Book "Culture,Intercultural Dialogue and EU's Sustainability"

Culture, Intercultural Dialogue and 

EU's Sustainability

WANG Xiaohai

Executive Summary

Since the beginning of the new century, the European Union, as an important actor in the world, has aroused global concern, query and thinking due to its debt crisis, refugee crisis, populism, Brexit and other issues. What’s wrong with the EU? Where will the European integration go? These are the questions that people often ask about the EU.

The first sentence in an ancient Chinese saying tells that “Yi Li Jiao Zhe, Li Qiong Ze San”. The central idea of it is that for those who make friends with one another for the purpose of economic benefits they will be dissolved when there’re no benefits to seek anymore. It reveals the basic principles of people’s getting along with each other, which can be described as profound philosophy and thought-provoking. It can be used to measure how countries deal with each other, and the European Union is no exception. Although the process of European integration started in the economic field, it has already spilled over into the fields of politics, security and defense, and foreign affairs, far beyond the scope of “economic and political interests”. Different from other “blocs” or “organizations” formed solely for economic purposes, cultural factors play the role of “binding” and “lubricant” in the process of European integration, and also give the EU enough resilience. The fundamental reason why culture has this effect is that it touches upon ‘the contact between hearts’, which is different from the snobbishness of economic interests and the compulsion of seizing political interests. The construction of European identity, which is of great significance to the European Union and European integration, is actually the construction of mind. Once you are interlinked heart to heart, you will never lose a friend!

We believe that European integration is a process in which several dimensions such as economy, politics, society and culture are intertwined. The absence of any one of them will damage the whole process. This book mainly discusses the cultural dimension of European integration, and analyzes the important aspects of cultural dimension --- language, religion, education, cross-cultural dialogue, and cultural policy itself, which play a role in promoting the construction of European identity. At the same time, for the European Union, after more than five decades of development, it has cultivated and developed its own unique culture like other international organizations, such as its lobbying, innovation, think-tank, women’s political participation and other cultures, which shows the existence and vitality of the EU from another perspective. Through the analysis and interpretation of the problems mentioned above, this book will further promote the teaching and research of the EU and European integration from the perspective of culture.

Table of Contents

Summary 6

Forward 7

Preface 8

Brief introduction to the author

Introduction 16

1. A dialectical look at several pairs of contradictory relations in the process of European Integration

2. Resistance to the process of European Integration

3. Further thinking

Chapter 1 Culture and the EU: Theoretical Thinkings 35

1.1 Theoretical analysis of culture as a new driving force for the EU cohesion 35

1.2 Theoretical analysis of culture as the basis of sustainable development of European integration 42

Chapter 2 Reflections on and prospects for the teaching of European Union and European integration

2.1 Overview 45

2.2 Reflections on the EU teaching and research 46

2.2.1 The connotation of the EU research needs to be redefined 46

2.2.2 Deficiencies in integrating EU research into policy-making 47

2.2.3 The potential of EU research as a governance tool not fully exploited 48

2.2.4 The role of EU and EU research on the world stage should be highlighted

2.3 Future trends of EU research 49

2.3.1 More integration of research findings into EU policymaking 49

2.3.2 New ideas for EU research as a tool for good governance 50

2.3.3 Enhancing the EU’s role on the world stage through EU research 52

2.4 Summary 53

Chapter 3 European integration: Interpretation from the intercultural communication theory perspective

3.1 Overview 55

3.2 What is integration 58

3.3 Definition of culture 59

3.3.1 Culture as a form of high culture and knowledge products 60

3.3.2 Culture as a normative model 61

3.3.3 Culture as a medium of communication 61

3.3.4 Culture as a social construction 62

3.4 The role of culture in the study of European integration 63

3.5 The role of culture in international organizations and international relations 65

3.6 Intercultural communication theory and European Integration

Chapter 4 European identity: theory, model and construction paths

4.1 Interpretation of identity concept from different disciplines 68

4.1.1 The psychological definition of identity 69

4.1.2 Sociological interpretation of identity 70

4.2 European identity construction theory 72

4.2.1 European identity construction theory based on common experience 72

4.2.2 The construction theory of European identity based on culture 72

4.2.3 European identity construction theory based on political level 73

4.2.4 Instrumental identity and emotional identity 73

4.3 Research on European identity model 74

4.4 Limitations of European identity 78

4.5 Cultural identity and identity crisis in European Integration

4.5.1 Positive effects of cultural identity 79

4.5.2 Negative effects of cultural identity 81

4.6 Traditional identity building tools 82

4.7 Tools for building European identity 83

4.8 Summary 85

Chapter 5 European languages, multilingual policy and European identity

5.1 Historical development and current situation of European languages 87

5.2 EU multilingual policy 89

5.3 Legal and social basis of EU language diversity 93

5.4 Problems in the EU language diversity mechanism 96

Chapter 6 EU Education Policy 99

6.1 European identity and European integration 99

6.2 Development process and characteristics of EU education policy 100

6.3 “European dimension” in EU education policy 102

6.4 Ways to implement the “European dimension” 104

6.5 Enlightenment 106

Chapter 7 EU cultural policy and European identity 108

7.1 Development of EU cultural policy 108

7.1.1 1970s and 1980s: the beginning of EU cultural policy 108

7.1.2 Post-Maastricht era: Legalization of culture 110

7.2 Assessment of EU cultural policy 111

7.3 Solutions to the European crisis from a cultural perspective 112

7.3.1 Culture as a tool of social policy 113

7.3.2 Cultural Competitiveness: culture as an economic policy tool 114

7.4 Summary 115

Chapter 8 Intercultural dialogue: strengthening the cohesion of European Society on the basis of European cultural diversity

8.1 Overview 116

8.2 Basic concepts 117

8.3 EU conceptual framework for intercultural dialogue 119

8.4 Policy measures to promote intercultural dialogue 120

8.5 Space for intercultural dialogue 121

Chapter 9 Multiculturalism and the evolution of European minority policy paths

9.1 Concept and theory of multiculturalism 124

9.2 An analysis of the causes of the dilemma of multiculturalism in Europe 126

9.2.1 Inherent differences in historical origins and religious beliefs

9.2.2 Inherent differences in religious beliefs 126

9.2.3 Multiculturalism is just a cover for the need for migrant labor force 128

9.2.4 Turning religious issues into political issues 128

9.2.5 Real life pressure 129

9.3 Ethnic minorities in Europe 130

9.4 Comparisons of four policy paths 131

9.5 Inclusive policy: extension and supplement of rights based policy 136

9.6 Summary 139

Chapter 10 Protection of European cultural heritage and selection of European cultural capital 141

10.1 Concept of cultural heritage protection 141

10.2 Significance and overview of European cultural heritage conservation 143

10.3 ‘European cultural capital’ and European identity 145

10.3.1 From “European cultural city” to “European cultural capital” 145

10.3.2 Connotation and extension of selection criteria 148

10.3.3 Cultural, economic and social significance of cultural capital 150

10.4 Summary 153

Chapter 11 Religion and European integration 155

11.1 Overview 155

11.2 Religious background of the concept of European unity 156

11.3 Christian Democratic Movement and its promotion and influence on European integration which is regarded as “Christian Democratic project”

11.4 Why do religious traditions and religious piety affect people’s attitudes towards European integration 159

11.5 Summary 161

Chapter 12 Euroscepticism 163

12.1 Definition and classification of European skepticism 163

12.2 Perspectives of European skepticism 166

12.3 Euroskepticism in different parts of Europe and in different EU Member States 167

12.4 Causes of Euroskepticism 168

12.5 Summary 170

Chapter 13 EU Lobbying Culture 172

13.1 Overview 172

13.2 The history, function and role of EU lobbying 173

13.3 The timing of lobbying in the EU decision-making process and the resources available to Brussels for lobbying 176

13.4 Cases of Chinese enterprises lobbying EU and suggestions on how to carry out lobbying in Europe 178

13.5 Summary 182

Chapter 14 EU Think-tank culture 184

14.1 Overview of EU think tanks 184

14.2 Major development trends and characteristics of EU think tanks 185

14.3 The role and influence of EU think tanks in the process of EU policy making 188

14.4 Summary 190

Chapter 15 EU Innovation Culture: The Construction of “Knowledge Triangle” system of education, research and innovation

15.1 Overview 193

15.2 European Institute for innovation and technology: incubator and testing ground for innovative ideas 194

15.3 Establishment of school enterprise cooperation 196

15.4 Entrepreneurship education 197

15.5 Support for researchers 198

15.6 Summary 199

Chapter 16 Impact of women’s political participation in EU public diplomacy and foreign image building

16.1 Overview 201

16.2 EU women’s political participation and EU public diplomacy 205

16.3 Advantages of women’s political participation in the EU 210

16.4 Summary 213

Chapter 17 The meaning of Europe 216

17.1 Geographical Europe 216

17.2 Europe in politics, economy and law 218

17.3 Cultural Europe 222

17.4 Summary 224

Chapter 18 The future of the EU 226

18.1 The touchstone of EU mechanism and Legislative Arrangements: European refugee crisis and reflection

17.1.1 Overview 229

18.1.2 Analysis of the reasons for EU’s failure to succeed in refugee issues 230

18.1.3 The impact of refugee issues on the European Union and European integration 232

18.2 Populism in Europe and its impact on the future development of the EU 238

18.2.1 Right wing populist parties in Europe 238

18.2.2 Causes and impacts of populism 240

18.3 Summary 241

Appendix I List of EU enlargement 242

Appendix II Major EU institutions and functions 243

Appendix III Major treaties signed by the EU 246


The European Union, which has experienced many trials and tribulations, is now facing many new challenges and crises, both from internal and external sources, from economic, political and cultural aspects as well. Since the beginning of the new century, the EU has just stumbled out of the shadow of the 2008 European debt crisis, and the European Union immediately encountered a refugee crisis, which triggered a wave of populism in many countries. After a series of terrorist attacks, the United Kingdom launched a referendum on Brexit, which resulted in a “protracted” referendum. The EU’s image has been seriously damaged, especially by the EU’s internal crisis. From the end of 2018 to the beginning of 2019, the “yellow vest” Movement broke out in France, the German Prime Minister election was defeated, and Italy’s financial problems broke out. The COVID-19 in 2020 and the performance of the European Union made many member states 'feel cold'. In a word, the sustainability of European integration is facing severe challenges. To a certain extent, the EU has reached the critical point of “To be or Not To be”, or put it in another way, “disintegration” or “integration”, “survival” or “collapse”. Not only do Europeans ask themselves, but the whole world is paying attention to Europe’s problems. What’s wrong with Europe? What’s going on in the EU? What is the future of European integration?

In recent years, academic interest in the cultural dimension of European Union and European integration has increased greatly. A group of scholars believe that there is a cultural dimension besides the political, economic and social dimensions of European integration. They believe that a “cultural deficit integration project” is bound to be fragile and difficult to go steadily and farther. Chinese scholars also hold similar views. The EU is not only an economic and political union, but also a value alliance. At the beginning of the establishment of the European community, cultural factors have played a role of spiritual ties. With the development and expansion of EC / EU, cultural factors have become more and more important variables in their internal and external policies. From the perspective of the current EU crisis and the future development of the EU, cultural factors should be paid more attention. If the EU is regarded as an organism, then the economy is like its whole body, politics its brain, diplomacy the means and tool to demonstrate its image to the world, and culture the muscle and bone to maintain the unity of the EU. Culture connects the various parts of the organism smoothly, which reflects the EU’s “resilience” and “sustainability”. Without culture, although the organism can still maintain and operate, the connection between various parts lacks lubricant, which will increase the probability of problems and “strike” and eventually lead to the collapse of the organism.

This book aims to explore the issues related to the EU and European integration and their future development from the perspective of culture. The main issues focused on are as follows: what is culture, the relationship between culture and the EU and European integration, the relationship between the construction of European identity and the EU’s language policy, education policy, cultural policy and religion, European multiculturalism, and how to promote cross-cultural dialogue across the member states so that the cohesion of the European society is enhanced, and how to use the advantage of women’s political participation to realize the EU’s public diplomacy and establish good external image. As for the European Union, like other international organizations, it has developed its own unique culture, such as the EU’s lobbying culture, think tank culture, innovation culture, etc. These are not only the embodiment of the EU as a real institution, but also of great significance to the development of EU and European integration. Through the discussion of the above issues, this book will further promote the teaching and research of EU and European integration, especially from the perspective of culture.

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