Frédéric, from Brussels, asks:
In the current context of growing euroscepticism among people who despair for European integration for the moment, I’d like to know your vision and your position on the role played by culture and the creative industries in contributing towards the renewal of Europe.
Maria Badia i Cutchet, MEP with the Socialists and Democrats, responds:
The role of culture? There isn’t just one role, there are several roles surrounding culture. It brings people together around ideas they share, their hopes and the territory in which they live, which is, in this case, the European Union.
But culture also plays another role, the cultural and creative industries, that is. This is a growing economic role. In the data that I have for 2008, three percent of the jobs in Europe came from the cultural and creative industries, and this sector was the only one to grow in spite of the crisis.
The European Union itself, in talking about the 2020 strategy, included what we call flagship projects, beacon projects for the EU. One of them is called “the Innovation Union”.
What is that? Firstly, it’s about identifying and then financing (because without this it doesn’t work) innovation and creativity. This initiative must be applied across all the economic sectors.
In this way culture could, as a cohesive factor for identities and common projects which people share… could therefore create wealth and help to forge this new Europe that we need so much. And this cultural Europe has every chance of achieving it.
Survey show that in a time of crisis people invest themselves more in culture, probably because we can not spend much on culture. In times of crisis, for instance, people visit museums more, go to the theatre more often — theatres do offer cheap seats — and go to concerts more. Because culture feeds the human soul.