A meeting of the Education, Youth and Culture Council was held on 11-12 May. The Scottish Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution, Michael Russell, represented the UK for the cultural and audiovisual agenda items taken on 12 May.
The Council adopted the conclusions on culture as a catalyst for creativity and innovation which draw the link between culture and the Lisbon objectives and also reflect the role of creativity in responding to the economic crisis.
The Council held a draw to select the two member states which will each recommend an expert to sit on the selection panel and the monitoring and advisory panel for the European capital of culture initiative for the period 2010-12. Luxembourg and Romania were selected, with the assistance of the Council Legal Service. These two member states are expected to propose their candidates for Council experts before the end of June 2009 in order for the Council to officially nominate these experts at its November meeting.
The Council adopted a decision designating the cities of Guimarães (Portugal) and Maribor (Slovenia) as European capitals of culture 2012.
The Council also adopted a decision designating Košice (Slovakia) and Marseille (France) as European capitals of culture 2013.
There was an exchange of views on the presidency paper on creative content online. The Commission were keen to learn about member states’ approaches to legislating online content and their ideas for future EU action. Most member states, including the UK, agreed that EU action would add most value where it ensured the exchange of good practice, particularly on intellectual property issues and the fight against piracy. The UK intervened to welcome the discussion on content online and give examples of domestic good practice, in particular the digital Britain and creative Scotland initiatives.
Under Any Other Business, the presidency gave reports on the conference held on the responsibilities of content providers and users and the forum for creative Europe. The presidency also provided Ministers with information on the MEDIA Mundus programme. The Greek delegation informed member states of the inauguration of their new Acropolis Museum due to take place in June 2009. The German delegation, supported by Austria, France and the Netherlands, expressed concern about the new Google Books initiative.