Culture minister plugs Latvia’s EU Presidency

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Culture Minister Dace Melbārde presented Latvia’s priorities for the field of culture and audiovisual works to her counterparts at the EU meeting of education, youth, culture and sports ministers in Brussels Tuesday, outlining goals to be targeted during the country’s Presidency of the Council of the EU during the first half of next year.

In her address to the ministers from fellow member-states Melbārde said that Latvia hopes to deepen public understanding about culture not just as an instrument of growth, but also as a developmental target – culture as a value in and of itself.

Attitudes toward culture characterize an intellectually and emotionally developed civilization and are an essential precondition to preserve Europe’s cultural diversity, said Melbārde. Therefore Latvia during its EU Council Presidency will promote the positive effects of culture and the creative industries on innovation, economic and environmental sustainability, as well as social integration.

“Culture is a boost to the general welfare of society, the creation of a sense of belonging, as well as a source of inspiration for positive change – with this conviction Latvia has developed its cultural policy priorities for the Presidency,” she said.

In March 2015 during the annual creative activities promotion week (titled “Create!”) the ministry will host an international conference jointly with the European Commission to discuss a range of cultural policy issues. In addition, another conference the same week will focus on the ensuring of cultural legacies, the interaction between architecture and design in the preservation of historic environments while developing a quality life-space.

“Now more than ever this is the time to discuss the possibilities for ensuring a balance between Europe’s basic values – freedom of speech and expression, defense of the European information space, without losing sight of the main goals of preserving competitiveness and jobs in Europe’s audiovisual industry,” Melbārde told her counterparts at the meeting in Brussels.

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