Afroditi Theodoridou is a PhD student at Osgoode Hall Law School.
Now that we are heralding a New Year, the European Union is welcoming in Prague, on January 7, 2009, its European Year of Creativity and Innovation (EYCI) with the aim to promote an innovation and creativity-friendly environment.
This is a meaningful continuation of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008, since culture, creativity and innovation go hand in hand. The Member States can seize the opportunity to amend national intellectual property and technology laws. The Ministry of Justice in Germany, for instance, announced that it sees the EYCI as a great opportunity for further copyright and patent law reform. In parallel, Member States can push for further E.U. harmonization in this area.
The EYCI with its slogan “Imagine. Create. Innovate.” will be accompanied by numerous events, conferences, activities and be based on existing E.U. programs. In this way, public awareness will be raised and stimuli provided for private persons, entrepreneurs and policy makers. Ján Fígel, E.U. Commissioner for education, culture, training and youth, declared that
“[w]e would like to involve all stakeholders – such as national or local governments, professional organisations, NGOs, business companies – who are interested in the success of the European project, in a public debate on how Europeans should change for the EU to remain competitive on the global stage as well as a socially cohesive society, united in its rich diversity”.
It can also be seen as a further attempt to not totally bury the Lisbon Agenda with its ambitious aim to make the E.U. “the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion and respect for the environment by 2010”. A strategy which, inter alia, is based on innovation and the knowledge economy.
Perfectly timed, this year’s leitmotif will aid to foster creativity and innovation in the E.U. and so react to the challenges of globalization in general, and economic crisis in particular.
Cheers! Happy European Year of Creativity and Innovation!