José Manuel Dur ã o Barroso
P resident of the European Commission
Remarks by President Barroso at the press conference on the European Manifesto for Creativity and Innovation and on EU 2020
Press conference with the EYCI Ambassadors
Brussels, 12 November 2009
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to welcome these distinguished ambassadors for Creativity and Innovation.
They have made a superb contribution to the European Year of Creativity and Innovation.
They are role models and I am grateful to them for having embarked on this task of inspiring others.
The test of a European Year is not what happens during it….but what happens after it.
Europe needs economic and scientific creativity and innovation to recover from crisis and also to tackle climate change.
Artistic and cultural creativity and innovation inspire new thinking which can bring about huge social progress. Artists helped bring down the Berlin Wall, for instance.
One of the important messages of this manifesto and the work of our ambassadors is the need to put together creativity and innovation. To link participants from science to art and culture. We need to put innovation and creativity at the heart of tomorrow's policies.
In my political guidelines for the next Commission, I have outlined an EU 2020 strategy. I am happy to see that there is considerable convergence with the Manifesto.
Knowledge, reinventing education and developing broad research, promoting innovation policies and greening the economy are at the core of this EU 2020 strategy.
With the help of valuable input from colleagues in this Commission, I can now say a few words about how I intend the next Commission to take Europe forward towards EU 2020, building on the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs.
I see the following four main priorities to take us towards a more competitive, more sustainable and fairer economy.
First, policies which stem the rise in unemployment by empowering people and fighting exclusion .
Second, new sources of growth based on the famous knowledge triangle (research, education and innovation) and on making full use of the digital economy.
Third, making better use of scarce resources . This makes sense for business and it makes sense for the planet.
This is why the success of the Copenhagen climate change conference is so important. I can therefore announce that I will be going to Copenhagen representing the Euopean Commission. I don't need to tell you how important a meeting this is. There is a clear role for leadership at the highest level if we are to arrive at an agreement in Copenhagen. I very much hope that all leaders are able to come.
The fourth EU 2020 priority is making Europe mobile and connected . We need to get more out of our single market. We need high-performance transport and energy infrastructures. We need to encourage labour mobility to help people take up new job opportunities.
Let me mention two cross-cutting issues.
First, we need of course to have sound public finances in an age of demographic change but to achieve that we should not cut spending on education and research. Instead we must shift public support towards smarter industries.
Second, Europe also needs financial markets to be motors of long-term investment. Not a casino where a few players take huge winnings and the rest of us pay for the losses. That is why financial market reform and supervision are so important for our programme to 2020.
We intend to issue a working paper in the next few weeks for consultation about this future strategy and this is why I really want to link these ideas for the future with the contributions given to us by this distinguished group of scientists, of artist, of academics. Because it is very important to have such an input of innovation and creativity into future policies.
So I finish by returning to the European Year.
At a recent European Year event, a member of the audience expressed irritation with "all this talk of the 'smart economy'". She said she would prefer to talk about the "wise society".
I will not apologise for talking about a smart economy – we will get nowhere without one. But a smart economy is not worth having – indeed cannot be achieved - without a wise society, a society based on strong ethics and values.
A society where not only economic issues matter but where there is real respect for the fundamental ways in which individuals – men and women - can fulfil their potential. It is through science, through knowledge, culture and art. And it is at the core of our priorities.
That is why the Manifesto we have received today will be an inspiration for our future work.
And during the meeting I received another inspiration from Professor Erno' Rubik, who is one of our ambassadors: a Rubik's Cube with all the European countries, which I will keep in my office.
I think it will be very helpful for the jobs discussion in the next European Council. It reflects to some extent our everyday life in Europe: putting together in a harmonious form all the complexity of the enlarged Europe of 27.