Commission and Hungarian Presidency highlight the role of culture as a driver for growth

European Commissioner for Education and Culture Androulla Vassiliou and the Hungarian Minister of State for Culture, Géza Szöcs participated in a conference on the contribution of culture to the Europe 2020 Growth Strategy. The conference highlighted the economic impact of the cultural and creative industries and the link between culture, creativity and innovation.

The high-level conference: "Culture as a driver for smart, inclusive and sustainable growth", held in Budapest between 27 February and 1 March was an opportunity to raise awareness of the multi-faceted impact of culture and to offer examples of the added value that Europe can provide through its support for job-creation and transnational projects aimed at enhancing access to European culture.

Experts meeting in Budapest addressed the ways in which culture has spillover effects on other economic sectors as well as its role as a motor for social inclusion. This crucial role for innovation and growth played by culture and creative industries in general was already highlighted by the European Competitiveness report 2010 put forward by the Commission. It is estimated that as a sector, culture employs around five million people and contributes nearly 3% to Europe's GDP.

As highlighted by Commissioner Vassiliou in this Conference, cultural creativity supports innovation, diversity, entrepreneurship, tourism and public services. All these elements are characteristics which back the contribution made by culture to the Europe 2020 Growth Strategy.

In order to support such role played by culture and cultural induestries, around 6.5 billion euros are available from the EU's Culture Programme and the Structural Funds to support cultural projects in 2007-2013. This money is matched by funding from other public and private sources at national and regional level.