Statment by Minister of State Müntefering on the opening of the Franco-German cultural institute (DFKI) in Palermo

14.06.2021 - Press release

Minister of State Michelle Müntefering issued the following statement today (14 June) in Palermo on the occasion of the opening of the Franco‑German cultural institute (DFKI) there:

We are happy that the Franco‑German cultural institute (DFKI) in Palermo is opening its doors. This is an important step towards implementing the Treaty of Aachen of 22 January 2019. We are hereby creating a common cultural platform, stepping up our cooperation and assuming shared responsibility for Europe. Last year especially showed how much we need encounters, and that we are much better at mastering challenges together. In cooperation with our Italian partners, the Franco‑German cultural institute will be a driving force in advancing the cultural integration of Europe, both internally and externally.

Jean‑Baptiste Lemoyne, French Secretary of State for Tourism, French Nationals Abroad and Francophonie, issued the following statement:

I am exceptionally pleased to be able to open the world’s first Franco‑German cultural institute today: The Panormos – la Bottega artists’ house is the first instalment in the “Kultur Ensemble” initiative. Six months from now, France will assume the Presidency of the Council of the European Union; today, three founding nations of Europe’s political Union are sending out a very strong European signal from Palermo. With the artists’ house, we want to support a new and truly European generation of artists in the long term. The Panormos atelier is one pillar of this new grand tour, which aims to promote new mobility among European artists and in the process to nurture creativity and openness toward others.

Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Benedetto della Vedova gave the following statement:

For half a century, the French Cultural Institute and the Goethe-Institut in Palermo have been promoting French and German language and culture in productive interaction with Italian culture, and more specifically its Sicilian and Palermo forms; the two institutes can therefore almost be regarded as belonging to the city itself. Through their truly synergetic efforts, they are today supporting Palermo’s endeavours, as an exemplary city of inclusion and exchange, to become a centre of top‑notch cultural and artistic activity. Bilateral Franco‑German relations are thus becoming trilateral. By fully including Italy in these activities, ties are being consolidated between our countries, between our countries and Europe, and between our countries and the Mediterranean region.

Johannes Ebert, Secretary General of the Goethe-Institut, said the following at the opening:

The Goethe-Institut places a high priority on European cooperation. What we have here is a great opportunity to test this innovative and intensive form of European cooperation at a specific location and in our everyday activities. It is particularly symbolic that our first cooperation project of the “Kultur Ensemble” initiative is a shared building in Palermo: Italy is a founding member of the EU, and Sicily has always been a melting pot of European and other cultures. Because, for Europe to be successful, what we are especially in need of these days is inner cohesion and a willingness to cooperate with the world. “Kultur Ensemble” embodies those two qualities. I am particularly pleased that our Franco‑German‑Italian residency programme in an atelier setting is so strongly focussed on artistic collaboration – because Europe needs to be reimagined and reflected upon constantly. The arts are essential to these efforts.

Background information:

The DFKI in Palermo is a milestone for implementation of the joint Franco‑German cultural institutes that were set out in the Treaty of Aachen in 2019.

The joint project opened its doors today (14 June 2021) after a ceremony attended by Minister of State Müntefering, political State Secretaries Lemoyne (France) and Della Vedova (Italy), as well as Secretary General of the Goethe-Institut Ebert. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the city of Palermo and its mayor Leoluca Orlando, an additional workshop building, referred to as a “bottega”, is being made available in a section of the shipyards that is now used for cultural purposes.

The bottega is intended to be a central site for the Franco‑German artist‑in‑residence programme in Palermo. It serves as a workspace and can also be used as a multi‑purpose hall for small events.

How closely Italy is participating in the Franco‑German project is apparent in its two well‑known Italian mentors, art historian and curator Chiara Parisi (Director of Centre Pompidou‑Metz) and Andrea Lissoni (Artistic Director of Haus der Kunst in Munich). The trilateral aspect is further underscored by DFKI’s cooperation with the artist‑in‑residence programmes Villa Massimo, which is funded by Germany, and Villa Medici, which is funded by France.


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