The European Commission has announced that it would like to make 2009 the European Year of Creativity and Innovation.

Europe is striving to become the world’s leading knowledge-based economy by 2010. It is widely agreed that to reach this target will require encouraging people to develop skills in a number of
areas that are key to building a knowledge-orientated society.

One of these areas is education and the specific subjects of mathematics, science, information and other technologies. The Year will therefore concentrate on helping people develop better
skills in problem-solving and applying knowledge and ideas in real life situations. Activities focusing on social and entrepreneurial innovation will also be encouraged.

Because of the importance of the cultural sector to the economy, artistic creativity and flair will also be promoted in 2009, as a follow-up to the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue
(2008). Other policy areas covered by the Year will include business, media, research, and social, regional and rural development.

According to Ján Figel’, Commissioner responsible for education, training, culture and youth, the Year is ‘an effective way of helping to meet challenges by raising public awareness,
disseminating information about good practices, stimulating education and research, creativity and innovation, and promoting policy debate and change. By combining action at Community,
national, regional and local levels, it can generate synergies and help to focus policy debate on specific issues.’

This Commission’s proposal will be examined by the European Parliament and the Council later this year.