Culture and creativity as engines for a stronger and innovative Europe

By the Danish Minister for Culture Uffe Elbæk

In a time where the gloomy economic outlook steals the headlines and dominates the European political agenda, it is more important than ever to focus on our strengths - our cultural diversity and our creativity. It is imperative that we move beyond the talk of crisis and start articulating how European culture and creativity can create a mindset of opportunity, optimism and innovation. It is our strengths that inspire and motivate us in us in our daily lives, and it is our strengths that will ultimately foster an atmosphere of hope.

The cultural diversity of Europe has always been one of the most exciting characteristics of our region. This gives us immense potential for stimulating our curiosity and it creates a wide range of opportunities for us to learn from one another. The current economic situation stresses our obligation to unleash that potential and together find a way where culture and creativity can play an even greater part in contributing to the answer to our common challenges.

Bearing this in mind, the Danish Presidency will work with the following priorities in the fields of culture, audiovisual and sport:

A new framework for a Creative Europe

The European Commission has presented a new framework for a Creative Europe, linking the current Culture and MEDIA programmes that have contributed throughout the years to the further development of the European cultural and audiovisual sectors.

The Danish Presidency welcomes the Commission’s proposal, and I will do my utmost to further the process on this vital programme and ensure that the European cultural and creative sectors will continue to flourish, widen our perspectives and enrich our region and beyond. 

Culture in External Relations

Culture in external relations has become essential in a time where it is clear that we are truly economically and socially interdependent on a worldwide scale. The cultural dimension already plays a substantial part in the external relations of the EU. As Minister for Culture, I think it is important to push this dimension a step further and reveal the full potential of the role of culture in external relations.

The Danish Presidency will continue the efforts in this area, bringing together representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Ministries of Culture across Europe. We are grateful to be able to build upon the excellent work of the former Hungarian Presidency and the Polish Presidency. 

Sport in focus

I am delighted that with the Lisbon Treaty sport is now formally on the European agenda, and I will do my very best to promote the European dimension in sport. It goes without saying that in doing so the Danish Presidency will focus on the sport chapter in the European Commission’s proposal for an “ERASMUS for All” programme. Energy will also be dedicated to our crucial fight against doping and match fixing and to highlighting the joint efforts in promoting the voluntary dimension in sport.

With these essential subjects as focal points, I look forward to working with my European partners to create results that can promote the potential for innovation and opportunities within the richness and diversity of European cultures, audiovisual and sport.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to participate in the exciting cultural events that will take place during the Danish Presidency. You can read much more about the Danish Presidency, and about the cultural events, on www.eu2012.dk.

Thank you,
Uffe Elbæk