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Brussels, 23 September 2008

2009 to be the European Year of Creativity and Innovation

The European Commission welcomes the news that today the European Parliament, meeting in plenary session in Brussels, has, by adopting its report, supported the Commission proposal that 2009 be designated as the European Year of Creativity and Innovation.

In the parliamentary debate before the vote, Mr Ján Figel', Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, explained how "education systems are subject to competing pressures: they have to face a growing range of challenges, as they equip young people with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they will need in our rapidly-changing society and economy, while also continuing to meet traditional educational requirements."

The Commissioner reiterated that "education can best meet these competing challenges by remaining true to itself and fostering young people's broad personal development. It must allow enough time and space for their innate talents and creativity to develop in a balanced way, combining ever-more important 'soft' competences, such as a sense of initiative or intercultural skills, with the so-called 'hard' skills in specific subject areas like mathematics and science."

European Year of Creativity and Innovation is a major initiative involving Member States, EU institutions and a wide range of stakeholders. The aim is to exploit and promote creative and innovative approaches and initiatives in different domains of human activity and at all levels. While education and culture will be at the centre of the Year, it feeds into many other policy areas, such as enterprise, information society, employment or regional policy.

Each Member State will designate a national coordinator who will be responsible for the Year's activities at national or regional level. The Commission's Directorate-General for Education and Culture will coordinate the activities at the European level. Details of Year, including a rolling programme of events, will be made known through a website which the Commission will be launching soon.

No additional budget line has been provided, as the aim is to use existing resources for a wide-ranging awareness-raising effort and policy debate at European, national and regional level. This debate will help to shape Europe's agenda for cooperation in the field of education and culture over the coming decade.

Pending the launch of a specific website, interested organisations and stakeholder groups can request additional information from the following email address:

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