EU Ministers for Culture and Audiovisual Affairs in the informal meeting in Vilnius made a statement on proactive cultural policies to maintain culture as an agent for economic growth and social cohesion. EU Ministers call the member states and the European Commission to invite policy makers in other sectors to open up ways for a better and more effective application of cultural and creative sector inputs, taking into account national challenges and specificities.
“Taking into account the position of culture in the light of the EU multiannual financial framework for the 2014-2020 period, we agreed to make efforts that the culture and creative sectors are addressed properly by further strategies and planning documents at all levels,” says the Lithuanian Minister Šar?nas Birutis.
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 Ministers also discussed challenges of ensuring media freedom and pluralism during convergence of the audiovisual and media worlds.
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 Ministers discussed 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 adopted in the formal November Council in Brussels.