The European Commission reported in a recent press release that the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Youth and Culture, Ján Figel', and the French Minister for Culture and Communication, Christine Albanel, hosted an informal meeting of representatives from the member states' culture ministries in Cannes, France, on January 27, 2008, to discuss the potential of culture to boost jobs and growth. They were joined by music industry representatives Denis Olivennes, Bernard Miyet and Michel Lambot. The meeting took place during the annual gathering of Europe's music industries at the MIDEM international trade fair.
"Innovation and creativity are fundamental to the process of economic growth," Mr. Figel' told the representatives, "and they also boost social development. In our increasingly competitive, globalizing world, policy makers in the member states and the EU need to develop better, 'tailor-made' policies for the creative industries so that they can contribute their full potential to boosting Europe's long-term economic growth."
As the release also notes, “Mr. Figel' told delegates that such 'tailor-made' policies would be most appropriately developed through improved cooperation between member states by proceeding with the implementation of the EU's first ever strategy for culture, which the European Commission proposed in May 2007”. “Mr. Figel' explained that the strategy put culture at the heart of the European project, and introduced a more structured system of cooperation among the member states and the EU institutions, which is known as the 'open method of coordination' (OMC).”
This open framework makes it easier for member states and the EU institutions to work together towards commonly identified goals through peer learning and by measuring progress against mutually agreed benchmarks. The OMC also calls for the involvement of the cultural sector in this process. "This is vital if we are to successfully tailor policy to the needs of the creative sector," Mr. Figel' said.
The press release also mentions that the commissioner announced the creation of a group of experts from member states and a group with civil society organizations, whose tasks will be “to focus on unleashing the full potential of the cultural and creative industries, especially in small and medium sized enterprises, to help achieve the aims of the EU's Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs”.
The commissioner also announced that a new study would get underway in February to investigate the circumstances that effectively contribute to stimulating creativity in the EU. “The study should also focus on ways to further explore and promote the specific role of culture in fostering creativity”, he said, adding: “This study will also help identify the type of actions that should be implemented during the forthcoming "European Year of Creativity and Innovation through Education and Culture" in 2009.”
The European Commission press release provides greater detail on the January 27 meeting, its results, and Mr. Figeľ’s speech.