Speech by Andras Demeter

Andras Demeter, Deputy Minister of Culture and Religious Affairs, Romania


I was asked to address you a few words in the opening of this meeting.
Looking at the reunion’s programme, I’ve seen that, these days, we are here, in
one of this year’s European Cultural Capitals – Sibiu, representatives of
authorities  – from European Parliament to local authorities,
representatives of civil society, artists and creators.

That’s one of the main reasons – together with the fact that I’ve
participated, only a week ago in Lisbon, at the first “Cultural Forum for
Europe” – for which I thought it would be adequate to tell you something about
the importance of intercultural dialogue.

It was for me, not only as a
state dignitary, but especially as an artist, to hear the President of European
Commission, Mr. Jose Manuel Durao Barosso, expressing clearly the fact that
culture is an extremely important issue and its potential for development must
be taken into consideration in all our policies and actions.

Finally, the
other actors on our socio-economical and political stage are starting to see the
real value of culture, which is not only a consumer of resources, but also an
important producer of benefits: incomes, jobs and implicitly social stability
and cohesion conducting to development.

Also, as many of us are European
citizens, each of us being the “product” of ancient and so diverse cultures, I
think we must realize the importance of the role played by the intercultural
dialogue not only in our understanding between eachother in view of a common
development, but in our relations with the rest of the world, too. In this era
of globalization, we, Europeans, have our cultural richness and diversity which
make us unique.

Coming now to more concrete aspects, I want to remind you that next year is
the “European Year of Intercultural Dialogue”. We took the “European Year of
Intercultural Dialogue” as a great opportunity to deal with a more complex and
wider cultural environment, as an occasion to get familiar with it and to
promote an European citizenship through modern and active means, by connecting
between them different actors in the cultural field from all the Europe, and
giving them the chance to know people who are interested in promoting a common
set of values.

In this respect, we have prepared, as all other EU Member
States, a national strategy for this year and we also transmitted to the
European Commission our national project, named “Puzzle”. I won’t enter into
details regarding the project, but I will tell you that if you’re interested in
Romania’s involvement in the program “2008 – The European Year of Intercultural
Dialogue” and in the other European programmes, such as “Culture 2007” and
“Media 2007”, you can access the website of our Consultancy Centre
for   European Cultural Programmes (Romania’s Cultural Contact
Point)  – target=_blank>www.eurocult.ro or contact the Centre’s team, and they will
give you all the information and guidance you’ll need.

The main targets
we aim with our national strategy are:

  1. To place the intercultural debate in a strategic European  context;
  2. To demonstrate the need for concerted European cultural cooperation outside
    of Europe, respecting European diversity;
  3. To prove the viability of an European cultural policy through exemplary
    projects and initiatives.

Because the central idea of this European Programme is the raising of the
public awareness on the importance and the benefits of the dialogue between
cultures, we should not stop our efforts at the end of 2008, but stimulate
further actions in this direction, of the development of intercultural

That’s why we, in the Ministry of Culture and Religious
Affairs, thought to prepare, also, a National Cultural Agenda for 2008, which
will contain all the necessary information for the stakeholders interested in
obtaining governmental funding, through our Ministry, for their
projects. Also, by elaborating this Agenda, we’ve consider that it will be
a helpful instrument for the local authorities, too, in order to offer them the
possibility to connect/ to interlink their own cultural disponibilities for
financing cultural projects, with ours. This interlinking can only be for the
benefit of artists, creators and cultural operators from every corner of Romania
and it can also become, we hope, an example of successful inter-institutional
cooperation for other countries, too.

I want to conclude my intervention
by wishing you a fruitful debate.
Thank you for your attention.

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