HC Deb 20 March 1989 vol 149 cc724-5
25. Sir David Price

To ask the Minister for the Arts what steps he is taking to seek to ensure that the European Community has an artistic dimension in the formulation of its policies.

Mr. Luce

I regularly attend the meetings of European Community Ministers responsible for cultural affairs. I will be in Santiago de Compostela for an informal meeting of Ministers under the Spanish presidency at the end of this month, when we expect to discuss audiovisual, library and book matters.

Sir David Price

My question went a little wider. Given that an important element of the common European heritage is artistic and cultural, and given that the Community now accepts a social dimension in its formulation of policy, does it not make sense to air a cultural and artistic dimension, and is it not time that my right hon. Friend took an initiative in that direction?

Mr. Luce

I accept what my hon. Friend says, except that cultural co-operation goes beyond the boundaries of the Community. I do not think that it makes sense to draw a line at the Community, although I am in favour of a measure of co-operation within the Community. Of course, this does not come within the area of competence of the treaty of Rome or the Single European Act, but that has not stopped Ministers of the European Community indulging in multilateral co-operation, and I agree with that.

Mr. Buchan

Does the Minister agree that it might be helpful in carrying out his communitaire responsibilities in relation to the city of culture—Glasgow—if he will tell us how much Government money he intends to offer? So far, it has been very little.

Mr. Luce

I admire very much the fact that since the decision was taken to give the status of cultural city of Europe to Glasgow in 1990, it has taken full advantage of it. It is attracting a large number of tourists and others to enjoy the arts in Glasgow. I believe that next year the cultural city will be a great success. With that in mind, although I made it plain at the beginning that there would be no central Government support for it, I am glad that I have been able to provide £500,000 to help in that process.