Disagreement between France and Spain on cultural protectionism

President Aznar of Spain stated that cultural protectionism was “the refuge of a country whose culture is in decline”


The French Minister of Culture, Jean-Jacques Aillagon, went on French television last month to defend his views on the need to preserve Europe’s cultural diversity. Mr Aillagon was a guest on a popular talk show where he accused President Aznar of Spain of attacking France.

The move followed President Aznar’s visit to Washington, DC last month, where he told reporters that cultural protectionism was “the refuge of a country whose culture is in decline”. He said: “certain European countries have cultures and languages that do not lend themselves to spreading in a globalised world. This does not apply to Spain”.

Last November Mr Aillagon issued a joint statement with his German counterpart, Christina Weiss, in favour of the promotion and protection of French and German culture. They said they intended to work in collaboration with Unesco for the elaboration of an international convention on cultural diversity, and underlined the importance of ensuring that national programmes were adequately represented on television, radio, film, and internet. The subtext of the statement is a desire to combat America’s perceived cultural dominance in the media.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Franco-Spanish war'

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 145 March 2004