What’s new in 2010? Minimize

By Jan Runge, Manager International Projects at KEA European Affairs www.keanet.eu

What a year! The past 11 months, including the economic crises as well as Europe’s struggle to agree on the new Treaty, have certainly tested the resilience, the flexibility – and some might say the creativity – of Europe’s institutions and policy makers. With regards to the creative industries, 2009 has also been a significant year: The European Year for Creativity and Innovation helped to showcase the societal and the economic importance of the sector and illustrated that we live in a world where creative, people-driven innovation is needed to maintain Europe’s competitiveness and quality of life.

It’s time, then, to take a look into the future. Will the creative industries remain on the European policy agenda in 2010 and, if so, what does this imply for those who support the sector?

First and foremost, one should continue to promote the relevance of the creative sector: The creative industries are a dynamic driver of economic activity and job creation throughout the EU. It is also increasingly recognised that collaborations with creative organisations and creative talents can have important innovation impacts on companies and institutions (be they hospitals, schools or traditional businesses) that operate outside the creative sector. And, naturally, there are several further important cultural and social contributions of the sector – especially at regional level – which can hardly be measured but are nevertheless vital to Europe’s civil society and the well-being of all people living in Europe.

This multi-dimensional relevance of culture and creativity is increasingly recognised by the European institutions, which start to formulate more nuanced policy strategies to foster a “Creative Europe”. DG Education and Culture of the European Commission is currently drafting its strategy for the cultural and creative industries (to be published in early 2010). DG Enterprise and Industry just recently announced an innovation plan for creative clusters. Moreover, the EC is embarking on reviewing its post-2013 funding mechanisms – including the regional programmes – and it is essential that the creative sectors continue to be taken into account as key drivers of innovation in this context.

Given these developments, it is unlikely that the currently emerging focus on creativity and the creative industries will shift to the detriment of the sector. However, it is essential that the EC’s strategies for creativity (which are currently being developed) ultimately translate into more tangible support measures for the sector.

This is where Creative Growth and all its partners have a role to play: Regional agencies as well as the EU projects that drive creative industries’ growth across Europe should take an active part in helping the European Commission to get its emerging creativity strategy right.
 

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