• Culture sector employs 8.5m people • Generates some 4% of the EU’s GDP • Culture to be explored as a soft policy option in EU external relations. • Progress made on Creative Europe Programme
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD chaired the European Youth Culture and Sport (EYCS) Conference in Brussels today as part of Ireland's Presidency of the European Union.
The discussions focussed on areas that the Irish Presidency had prioritised. Minister Deenihan stressed that it was a Presidency where Stability , Jobs and Growth have been the overarching theme of Ireland’s turn in the chair.
Minister Deenihan said "I firmly hold the belief that culture is a sector which can contribute significantly to the achievement of those aims - it is a sector which employs some 8.5m people and generates some 4% percent of the EU’s GDP. The arts allow us to demonstrate and celebrate our diversity in a way which fosters understanding and tolerance, they provide a platform for the demonstration of our principles, our points of view. They allow us to make connections with people that reach far beyond economic or trade ties, while at the same time can help cement, expand and contribute to economic and trade relations."
Minister Deenihan - "There has been significant progress made on the Creative Europe Programme. This programme will promote culture and creativity, creating the conditions for growth and employment in this sector."
The Council Meeting today in Brussels, examined aspects of culture in detail debating the use of culture as a soft policy option in EU external relations. Last year, Culture ministries worked together with their colleagues from Foreign Affairs ministries and with the Commission on a strategy regarding cultural relations between the EU and China. This expert group delivered a report which pointed to recommendations for the exploitation of this work. Today's council meeting considered how to act on those recommendations, whether a strategic EU approach in this area could be pursued.
From a domestic point of view, Minister Deenihan spoke about his recent visit to China and how arising from it, there are a number of opportunities to deepen the artistic and cultural exchanges between Ireland and China, with a view to also enhancing commercial and trade opportunities between the two countries.
Minister Deenihan also spoke about how the emphasis of the Irish Presidency is on the enhancement of the economic and social potential of the cultural sector. "There has been significant progress made on the Creative Europe Programme. This programme will promote culture and creativity, creating the conditions for growth and employment in this sector. It will bring together citizens as a community, create a Europe for Citizens and I consider it one of the most important proposals within my portfolio" concluded Minister Deenihan.