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Free Trade Agreement with the US: focus on cultural diversity
The Flemish Parliament wants the Government to safeguard cultural diversity within the European Member States and regions during negotiations over a new Free Trade Agreement between Europe and the United States. If cultural goods were treated in the same way as ordinary commercial goods and the 'survival-of-the-fittest' principle was given a free rein, this would be detrimental to smaller linguistic and cultural communities in particular. For this reason, a section on culture was included in the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992 allowing European Member States (or regions) to take measures to protect and stimulate their own culture. This 'exception culturelle' or cultural exception principle is enshrined in the European Treaties. The forthcoming Free Trade Agreement between Europe and the US threatens to put this principle at risk. For the N-VA, the Agreement must contain sufficient safeguards to ensure that the European Member States and regions can take measures to protect and stimulate their own cultural and audio-visual sectors and products.