Euro-Mediterranean Youth Music Expo
28.09.2012 Welcome address by Mr Georgios Markopouliotis, Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus, on Friday, 28 September 2012, 11:00 at Rialto Theatre, Limassol.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to be here with you and address the Euro Mediterranean Youth Music Expo. Cyprus is truly a perfect place to host an event of this kind. Its location, positioned at the crossroads of three continents, and its ambiance go hand in hand with culture, music and of course with the diversity that is inherent in them.
Culture lies at the heart of the European project and is the anchor on which the European Union's "unity in diversity" principle is founded. The combination of respect for cultural diversity and the ability to unite around shared values has guaranteed the peace, prosperity and solidarity the EU enjoys.
Culture is also deeply embedded in the Union's institutional framework. The Lisbon Treaty clearly states that the EU must to take culture into account in all its actions so as to foster intercultural respect and promote diversity.
It is no secret that Europe is facing an economic crisis. You know that all around the Union, Member States are in the process of shoring up their finances. This is a process that needs to be done; but we have to make sure that certain pillars like culture and music will not become collateral damage of these efforts.
Let us not forget that Europe's cultural and creative industries are important sources of revenue and jobs for over 8 million people. This is why the EU runs support programmes for the cultural industries, encouraging them to grasp opportunities offered by the integrated EU market and digital technologies.
In addition, there is a cultural component in many EU policy areas, such as education (including language-learning), scientific research, support for IT and communications technologies, social policy and regional development.
For example, as part of its regional policy, the EU can help pay for music schools, concert halls and recording studios. In its guidelines for the European Regional Development Fund, the Commission asks EU governments to promote cultural development in poorer regions to help them assert their identity, attract tourists and create jobs in areas like online services and the media.
Ladies and gentlemen,
There is a need to reflect on how to measure the value of culture for society. In time of crisis, there is a temptation to look at arts and culture as a cost rather than a vital investment for society, and this is, in my opinion, deeply mistaken. We need to support culture, and the European Commission is committed in doing just that. On Wednesday, Commissioner Vassiliou presented a strategy to unlock the full potential of the cultural and creative sectors in the EU to boost jobs and growth. Later on you will also hear more on ''Creative Europe,'' our proposal for a cultural programme for the period 2014-2020.
I wish you a fruitful-and vibrant-expo.
Thank you for your attention.