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Creative solutions - 24/12/2008

Logo of the European year of creativity and innovation © EC

2009 is the European year of creativity and innovation.

Each year, the EU chooses a theme for a campaign to draw attention to a specific issue. 2009 will be devoted to creativity and innovation. During the year, hundreds of conferences, projects and exhibitions will take place across Europe, all intended to raise awareness of the need for imaginative solutions to today’s challenges.

The EU has long recognised creative thinking as key to success in a global economy. Innovation is an essential part of both the commission’s climate change package and its plan to revive the EU economy, now suffering its worst downturn in decades.

Although the year of creativity and innovation officially begins on 7 January with a conference and gala in Prague, there has already been one event – a concert performed on instruments made of fresh vegetables! Later in the year, Brussels will host a series of debates on how to encourage bold new ideas and how society can benefit more from them.

The world today thrives on rapid innovation. As the EU moves to a knowledge-based economy, it must develop its potential for creativity. In particular, Europeans must learn to embrace change and be receptive to different strategies.

Teachers have a critical – and difficult – role. Increasingly they will have to balance traditional education requirements with the need to give young people “soft” skills like a sense of initiative, according to education commissioner Ján Figeľ.

The campaign will help shape the EU’s agenda for cooperation between its member countries on education and culture. It will also feed into policy in other areas, like business and employment.

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