Culture as a part of the integrated economic and social development strategy

19 November 2013, Last updated at, 11:36 EEST
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author: eu2013.lt

What are the most effective ways that lead to tangible results in applying the social and economic potential of culture and the creative industries? What measures could be used to integrate culture into other public policy fields and decision-making processes at the European, national, regional and local levels? These and other important questions will be discussed by the EU Ministers for Culture and Audiovisual Affairs in the informal meeting to be held in Vilnius on 1-2 October.

“The most important driver stimulating cultural policy changes is the new 2014-2020 EU financial support period and the ongoing negotiations between the Member States and the European Commission over public investments that ensure EU structural changes and social cohesion but don’t always fully take into account the role of culture and the creative sector”, says the Lithuanian Minister Šarūnas Birutis.

“Today I can already take pleasure in the fact that culture is established as a horizontal priority in the Long-Term Development Strategy of Lithuania for 2014-2020, which entrenches culture as an integral part of the National Progress Programme. This shows that culture is increasingly recognised as a significant component of social development and economic growth.”

The economic value of culture and the creative industries in the EU is obvious: they produce 3.3% of GDP and employ 6.7 million employees. The figures are just as important in the area of fashion and the high end goods industry – fields which are, in principle, based on the contribution of culture and the creative industries. Both of these industries create 3% of EU GDP and employ 5 and 1 million people respectively. It is projected that in 2020 the high end goods industry will employ 2 million people. In 2008–2011, employment in the cultural and creative sectors was less susceptible to the financial crisis than in other EU economic sectors.

The Informal Meeting of Ministers will discuss ways to strengthen cooperation between different sectors on cultural matters and ways to develop integrated cultural inclusion strategies encompassing all the governance levels.

The item on the audiovisual and media agenda relating to ensuring media freedom and pluralism in the digital environment should receive a lot of attention as well.

The challenge faced by politicians today is to find a way of ensuring the diversity and availability of European content in the rapidly changing technological environment and to safeguard the diversity and quality of media in Europe by simultaneously creating a competitive environment that will promote innovation. The Informal Meeting of Ministers will discuss whether common actions could be taken in creating a reliable system which would ensure a broad access to content, as well as protection of the most vulnerable consumer groups and the dissemination of the European identity. What measures should be taken at the EU level, and which matters should remain within the competence of Member States will also be addressed.

Lithuania is planning to draft Council Conclusions, based on the results of the debate regarding the ensuring of media freedom and pluralism in the digital environment with the view to having them approved in the formal November Council in Brussels.

Besides ministers from the EU Member States, the Informal Meeting of Ministers for Culture and Audiovisual Affairs will also be attended by the ministers of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries.

Presidency Statement

The programme of the meeting and related documents are available here.

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