Informal Meeting of the Ministers of Culture and Audiovisual Affairs, 1-2 October 2013

What are the most effective ways leading to tangible results in applying the social and economic potential of culture and the creative industries? What measures could be used to integrate culture into other public policy fields and decision-making processes at the European, national, regional and local levels? These and other important questions were discussed by the EU Ministers for Culture and Audiovisual Affairs in the informal meeting held in Vilnius on 1-2 October.

The Ministers underlined horizontal nature of culture and its interaction with other economic sectors, the need to promote holistic approach to various sectors, to move from sectorial to thematic approach in culture policy making and go beyond the known forms of cross-sectorial cooperation, such as culture and tourism. Statistical framework and the challenges to evaluate qualitative aspects of culture were underlined as a key problem for policy makers. The Ministers also underlined the necessity to make visible success stories and to facilitate exchange of good practice. 

The Presidency Statement was adopted during the informal meeting, calling the Member States and the European Commission

• through the [OMC] framework already in place, to continue work in analyzing the cultural policies of the EU member states, taking into consideration their contribution to ongoing social and economic transformation (culture-led development),

• taking into account the position of culture in the light of the EU multiannual financial framework for the 2014-2020 period, to make efforts that the culture and creative sectors are addressed properly by further strategies and planning documents at all levels;

• to invite policy makers in other sectors to open up ways for a better and more effective application of cultural and creative sector inputs, taking into account national challenges and specificities;

• in order to complete the building of the ‘case for culture’, to encourage testing of the use of cultural inputs to facilitate socio-economic change, with a particular emphasis on the logic of intervention, the results achieved, prospects of sustainability and transfer  to other cultural settings, eventually with a view to producing a guidance document in this regard,

• to advance the measures for evidence-based policy making as set out in the conclusions of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council on 26-27 November 2012.

Presidency Statement

The Ministers also discussed challenges of ensuring media freedom and pluralism during convergence of the audiovisual and media worlds. The challenge faced by politicians today is to find a way of ensuring the diversity and availability of European content in the rapidly changing technological environment and to safeguard the diversity and quality of media in Europe by simultaneously creating a competitive environment that will promote innovation, and to ensure freedom and pluralism of media in the digital environment.

“Current problems in some member states suggest that existing efforts are not enough, in newer EU Members States but also in older ones. So I do think there is a case for EU action, – said Vice-president of the European Commission Neelie Kroes. – The values of democracy and freedom are part of the fabric of the EU. They are values we should safeguard and we should protect, including through a free and a plural media sector. […] I see necessary actions in particular in two areas: independence of the media regulators and transparency of media ownership.”

Ministers discussed whether common actions could be taken in creating a reliable system which would ensure a broad access to content, as well as protection of the most vulnerable consumer groups and the dissemination of the European identity. What measures should be taken at the EU level, and which matters should remain within the competence of Member States were also addressed, with specific focus on protection of journalists and their sources, transparency of media ownership, public support mechanisms for quality and pluralist content and self-regulation of media councils.

Based on the results of the debate in Vilnius, Lithuanian Presidency drafted Council Conclusions on media freedom and pluralism in the digital environment, adopted during the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council meeting in November in Brussels.

Council conclusions on media freedom and pluralism in the digital environment

Last updated: 15-12-2015