Press Release

European artists gathered in Athens appeal for Culture as a Sustainable Value in Europe.

100 artists and cultural actors from 40 European countries, gathered in Athens, emphasise the importance of the Greek legacy for modern Europe – its democracy, its arts and its humanistic values.

The artists, members of the European Cultural Parliament, ECP, emphasise the importance of continuously funding culture, particularly in times of financial hardship. Culture and arts, being the core of a modern society, have a sustainable value, just like our environment. Culture and arts, funded by, but independent from, public budgets are probably Europe´s comparative advantage in a global competition.

New Technologies constitute a fascinating challenge for cultural actors. “Digital natives” in the IT world are promoting artistic creativity through their transparent and non-hierarchical nature and reach and engage more people. At the same time quality of arts has to be promoted and the copyrights of authors, musicians and other artists have to be properly protected.

The ECP, which held its 9th session in Athens upon the invitation of the Hellenic Parliament and the City of Athens, is the only Pan-European forum – an Agora – for outstanding cultural personalities from all sectors of arts and letters. The ECP is now also opening its doors to a number of young artists who will challenge the established artists and bring new dimensions of communication and debate, through blogs and other Internet forums.

The Athens session celebrated and discussed 25 years of European Capitals of Culture, ECoC, an idea of the late Greek actress an minister of culture, Melina Merkouri. The ECP emphasised that the arts and the European dimension, not local politics, must guide planning and implementation of future ECoCs. The ECP offered its considerable expertise in future selection procedures and in designing of ECoCs.

A declaration with an appeal to decision makers in Europe to assign equal importance to the cultural agenda as to other agendas like environment for the future of Europe was adopted on the most classical ground for democratic declaration – Pnyka, near Akropolis. See annex.

The ECP also adopted a resolution, defending the right of artistic expression of the Russian artist Oleg Mavromatti who lives in Bulgaria and is threatened by a trial in Russia. See annex.

The guest of honour of this ECP session was the legendary Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis who addressed members at the opening session.

The members of the ECP were personally welcomed by the Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament, Philippos Petsalnikos and the Mayor of Athens, Nikitas Kaklamanis who were the hosts of the session.

For more information: Secretary General Karl-Erik Norrman, 0049-170-1644950.

The 9th Session was supported by
The Hellenic Parliament
The City of Athens
Athens Tourism and Economic Development Co. (ATEDCO)

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