Cultural diplomacy has long been considered the most efficient means for developing ties between countries. While the EU has recognized a pivotal role of cultural diplomacy in its foreign policy and developed cultural relations with several third countries, the Indo-Pacific remains at the margin of these actions. Important steps to remedy this gap were taken: e.g. 2013 Special Action for third countries, in which Australia was the featured country, or 2016 EU pilot project supporting networking between cultural entrepreneurs from the EU and third countries. Yet, more work is still needed to create an integrated approach to strengthening the EU–Indo-Pacific ties. This is relevant because of a next phase of cooperation between the EU and Australia under 2017 Framework Agreement and trade negotiations. Singapore is also at the heart of the EU’s strategy towards the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and has been recognised as an important player in promoting an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific architecture. Australia and Singapore are therefore central to the EU’s engagement in the Indo-Pacific. Investing in cultural diplomacy and working with Singapore and Australia to share best practices should be a priority for the EU.

Despite growing interest in the topic, research on cultural diplomacy and international
cultural relations is considered insufficient. Examining the EU’s approaches to culture for external relations will contribute to better understanding cultural diplomacy as an evolving field focused on shared rather than nation-centric interests and expanding its potential in international relations.

Contact: Dr Katarzyna Williams:

Updated:  9 April 2024/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications