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IP/08/1893

Brussels, 5 December 2008

Media launch of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009

The European Commission launches today the communication campaign for the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009 with the slogan “Imagine. Create. Innovate”. The aim of the Year is to promote creative and innovative approaches in different sectors of human activity and contribute to better equip the European Union for the challenges ahead in a globalised world.

The European Year of Innovation and Creativity (EYCI) aims to raise awareness of the importance of creativity and innovation as key competences for personal, social and economic development. By emphasizing creativity and innovation, the EU aims at shaping Europe's future in a global competition by fostering the creative and innovative potential in all of us. The EU will offer a framework for raising awareness of the issues concerned and promoting a policy debate on how to increase Europe's creative and innovative potential. As for previous European Years, measures will include promotion campaigns, events and initiatives at European, national, regional and local levels.

On the eve of the campaign launch, the Commissioner Ján Figel’ said: "Both creativity and the capacity to innovate are key human qualities – they are inherent to all of us, and we make use of them in many situations and places, whether knowingly or not. With this European Year, I would like to see that the citizens of Europe understand better that by promoting human talents and the human capacity to innovate, we can actively shape Europe for the better, to help it fully develop its potential, both economically and socially."

The European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Training and Youth, Ján Figel’ will be joined by Mikel Irujo Amezaga MEP, Professor Edward de Bono – a leading authority in creative thinking and innovation and Professor Karlheinz Brandenburg – professor for Media Technology and director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT, and Jordi Savall – the concert performer, teacher and music researcher, all three Ambassadors of the Year, to launch the communication campaign for the European Year 2009.

The press conference, at 12.30 in the Berlaymont, will be attended by the members of the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra, who will be showcasing their ingenuity as they prepare their instruments for a concert later the same evening. As a novel example of creativity, the orchestra will play on instruments made solely of vegetables. This inaugural concert will also feature as the official handover from the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 to its successor of 2009. All accredited journalists are cordially invited to take part in this concert, which is followed by a reception.

The EYCI is a horizontal, cross-cutting exercise involving many areas; apart from education and culture, it involves enterprise, regional and research policies.

The official inauguration will take place in Prague on the 7th of January, in the presence of the Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and the Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek. All Member States will be represented, among others by their specially-appointed national coordinators.

The media launch of the Year also sees the inauguration of the website http://www.create2009.europa.eu dedicated to the Year with news, events and activities updated regularly throughout year, policy/publicity messages, reports of outcomes of activities and separate pages for partners of the Year. A special section will be dedicated to activities held in Member States.

Several personalities with a prominent record as concerns creativity and innovation have been approached to become Ambassadors of the Year. Two dozen have accepted, among them Esko Tapani Aho – former Finish Prime Minister, prominent businessman and the author of an EU report on innovation; Professor Bengt-Åke Lundvall, leading European researcher on innovation; Sir Ken Robinson, a leading world authority in creativity and education; Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International; Professor Ernő Rubik, teacher and designer of the famous Rubik's cube; and Radu Mihăileanu, the Romanian-born French film director and screenwriter. The Ambassadors will support the Year in their countries and worldwide and participate, whenever possible, in the more visible events.

In addition, six public debates on key topics relating to Creativity and Innovation will be held in Brussels during the Year to provide a platform for reflection and exchange of ideas which can contribute to policy discussion on Creativity and Innovation. They will cover such issues as cultural diversity, public sector, education, knowledge society, sustainable development or creative arts and industries.

Please note that the Vienna vegetable Orchestra Concert starts at 19:30 this evening, 5 December, in the Molière Theatre. The Brussels-based media are cordially invited to participate upon presentation of their press card, on a first-come-first-serve basis.

For more information: http://www.create2009.europa.eu/


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