The European Union (EU) and its member states should maximize the impact of culture in foreign policy, an EU official said Monday. Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, made the remarks during a meeting involving policy makers, cultural organizations, artists and academics from 54 European and non-European countries. They will discuss proposed recommendations by experts which could form the basis of a new EU strategy on the role of culture in the EU's external relations. "Cultural diplomacy is an opportunity for us to share the values such as respect for human rights, diversity and equality with other countries," Vassiliou said. "I believe this soft power can benefit the EU and its member states in their relations with the wider world."