Asked how the EU should respond to Russia's current propaganda campaign attempting to discredit European culture, the EU commissioner said the EU needs to remain self-confident. "European culture speaks for itself. We have to defend our achievements. We must take pride in European culture. It is a unique, prestigious and an extremely rich culture," Navrascics said.
Latvian Culture Minister Dace Melbarde echoed the thought. She mentioned the conference on strengthening the audiovisual media market, which took place in Riga this week, focused on promoting European identity. "I would say that input in cooperation, development of high-quality content and greater availability of this content is an important precondition for competing with third-countries' content," the Latvian minister said.
Melbarde noted that the key word in this case was quality. "Europe highly values its freedom of expression and will never respond to propaganda with counterpropaganda. Our answer can only be quality content and educating people about propaganda," she said.
Latvia’s culture minister believes that people need to rely more on their own judgments, their ability to draw conclusions and think critically. "The information age requires hard work to educate people. People's critical thinking is crucial," she said.
The conference on "Cultural and Creative Crossovers" was held in Riga on Wednesday and Thursday to debate the contribution and impact of cultural and creative industry crossovers for the development of the national economy, innovations and the public good. The conference aimed to raise awareness of the potential of cultural and creative industry crossovers as an input for the development of other sectors such as the economy, technologies and social innovation, to foster social cohesion and cultural diversity, and to boost smart urban planning and regional development with the overarching goal of sustaining the well-being of society.
Commenting on the results of the conference, the commissioner said that the creative week radi2015 is a wonderful opportunity for regions and sector's representatives in Europe to witness the Latvians’ creative achievements.
Navrascics said that Europe's identity should be kept in mind when discussing its future and the continent's role in the world. "These are Europe's essential elements. It has been agreed that Europe is one of the most innovative and creative continents in the world. We have deep innovation and creativity traditions. We have to preserve that. Our competitiveness should be improved and the power of culture and cultural creativity should be used," he said.
He went on to say that Europe's identity is a strong link, ensuring a common narrative of history and traditions. The EU has the financial resources to preserve this identity, but the EU institutions are weak by themselves, therefore the active involvement of national and regional cultural representatives is needed. "It is in our best interest to support transborder cooperation and activities, bringing together different projects and actors," he said.
The Latvian National Inspectorate for the Protection of Cultural Monuments (VKPAI) on Thursday and Friday is hosting a conference on “Cultural Heritage, Contemporary Architecture and Design in Interaction”. The conference will raise awareness of, and promote a discussion about the quality of the development of the cultural and historical environment, focusing on the role of contemporary architecture and design in supplementing and emphasizing existing values.
Melbarde said that the events were intended to show the diversity of culture and the creative sector, looking for different forms of cooperation and the ability to creatively influence growth processes. "Our main task now is to turn all ideas into conclusions of the Presidency and present them to the EU ministers," said the minister.