Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2015
Culture and creativity are the basis of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union followed the development of the mid-term review of the strategy "Europe 2020" from the CCI perspective. One of the Presidency's tasks was to highlight culture not only as a development tool or instrument, but also as a development goal. The Presidency sought to promote access to culture and participation in the digital age in order to strengthen Europe as a creative and innovative union and thereby find solutions to 21st century challenges. Within the annual Creativity week radi! the Presidency organized two conferences to stimulate debate and raise awareness of the cross-overs of cultural and creative sectors and their positive contribution and impact on other areas. It contributed to cooperation in targeted cross-sectoral policymaking, including promoting dialogue between cultural heritage, contemporary architecture and high quality design. The Presidency continued to support the work, which aims to improve evidence-based policy-making, to demonstrate the cultural, social and economic impact. The Presidency also contributed to the debate on digital cultural heritage re-use in education and creative sectors in the high-level strategy and policy planning meeting of the European digital library Europeana. The need to continue to work in promoting the role of libraries in society, support for information literacy and lifelong learning processes, as well as e-lending in libraries was emphasized by the representatives of the European library sector during the conference in Riga. The role of archives in the digital era, management and statistics of archives, copyright and protection of personal data, as well as access to archives was recognized in the meeting of the representatives of archives sector during the Presidency.
For the audiovisual sector, the conference "Strengthening the European Audiovisual Media Market for the Development of the European Identity” took place in Riga. The Presidency held the ministerial-level and expert debates on how to guard against hate speech, propaganda and spread of misinformation campaign in the media room. Audiovisual Ministers gave a strategic vision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive review process and agreed on the need to think about both the creation of the rapid reaction mechanism and on the mechanism for increasing efficiency, including the need to strengthen the EU's independent regulators and their cross-border cooperation. In the copyright field, Ministers from various industries also gave guidelines on copyright framework development in the future in response to the European Commission's Digital single market strategy. In a number of high-level expert events the need to create conditions that promote quality content creation and cultural diversity was highlighted, as well as providing for the mechanisms to ensure appropriate remuneration for authors and other rights holders. The promotion of cultural heritage material re-use in education and the creative industries was also emphasized. At the same time the need to think about how to prevent improper geographical blocking practices in order to facilitate consumer access to content was recognized. In the field of social integration, the Presidency continued the work on a Council proposal for a Directive on equal treatment of persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
With a view to encourage the crossovers of CCI at the EU level – a specific creative process in which the inherent knowledge and skills of the cultural and creative sectors merge with the other sectoral knowledge and skills by creating innovative and functional solutions – the Education, Youth, Culture and Sports Council of Ministers on 19 May 2015 adopted the Council conclusions in order to facilitate understanding of the potential for cooperation in various sectors and to contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of the European economy, faster growth and development of innovations. The recommendations that were drawn up in the annual Creativity week radi! during the Presidency Conference “Cultural and Creative Crossovers” were included in the conclusions. The conclusions were initiated and prepared by the MoC under the Latvian Presidency. The Presidency also drew up the recommendations for further work to strengthen the evidence-based culture policy and promote the development of cultural statistics and research, implementing the recommendations included in the EU Council conclusions of 26 November 2012 on cultural management, in order to improve the cultural management. In response to the tragic events at "Charlie Hebdo" in Paris on 7 January 2015, the Latvian Presidency brought together all EU Member States cultural ministers in a joint statement that acknowledges the unity of EU's Member States in protection of European values - freedom of expression and freedom of artistic expression. More than 30 employees of the MoC were involved in the management of the Presidency. 12 working groups of the Council of the EU on cultural, audiovisual and copyright affairs took place in Brussels; 1260 participants attended 10 events held by the Presidency in the field of culture; 107 cultural events were held across Europe and the world - exhibitions, concerts, films, theatre plays and poetry readings which constituted the most extensive presentation of Latvian culture excellence in the world since the country's independence.
It is difficult to calculate the total Presidency budget for the management and implementation of the cultural policy priorities, since a large part of the budget was planned and managed centrally by the state.