Commission president meets Bjorn Ulvaeus to discuss culture
European commission president Barroso urged representatives from
Europe’s cultural world, to ‘take a chance on me’ at a meeting in the
commission headquarters, a few kilometres from the site of the battle
of Waterloo. The hour-long meeting was followed by an
hour-and-a-half-long dinner with the representatives, who included
Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus.
Addressing the gathering, the commission’s own super trouper,
President Barroso explained that culture wasn’t all about ‘money,
money, money’ or ‘the winner takes it all’, but more a case of using
culture to create an emotional bond between citizens, a case of
‘knowing me, knowing you’.
“My vision of culture is not culture as an instrument. As science,
culture is a way for people’s fulfillment,” Barroso said.
The meeting between the world of culture and politics sought to
explore how culture contributes to the European project and how Europe
can better support culture. With participants representing all
artistic disciplines, from visual arts to cinema, literature,
performing arts, classical and popular music or also science, the
meeting provided an inspiring moment to address – through cultural
lenses – global challenges such as the European crisis and the growing
Euroscepticism of citizens, including among young people.
According to Barroso, ‘the name of the game’ was a continual dialogue
and he proposed an Agora on Culture to continue in 2013 and beyond the
debate with a higher visibility and a stronger emphasis on civil
He continued, “Let’s do something formidable. Let’s create platforms
to communicate where women and men from culture debate Europe and
where we all engage with citizens in a serious conversation about the
future of Europe.”