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   Minister of Culture Boil Banov and EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel discussed the priorities in the European Commission-s widest portfolio for the next five-year period. The meeting between them took place at the Ministry of Culture today, 13 December 2019.

   Among the topics of discussion between the Minister of Culture and the Bulgarian representative to the European Commission were the opportunities for the country to participate in the Commission-s projects and initiatives related to culture, as well as how to present the country and its rich heritage not only at the headquarters of the European institutions – Brussels but also in other European cities. They discussed the opportunities offered by the EU-s largest-ever research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe (2021-2027), and its relation to national or regional programmes, as well as the framework programme Creative Europe for support of projects in the culture and audio-visual sectors in the following areas: cinema, television, music, literature, performing arts and traditions.

   Minister Banov and EU Commissioner Gabriel discussed also specific steps to boost cooperation with the EU-s largest social movement for the safeguarding of Europe-s cultural and natural heritage, Europa Nostra, which is composed of nearly 250 organisations, institutions and individual members, as well as the continuation of a successful partnership with the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels.

   Minister Boil Banov underlined that behind the great recognition of the country lies also the great challenge to combine culture and education with innovation and research and to make them work together as a team with common goals. One of the most important tasks for our country is the digitisation of the cultural heritage and the collections of cultural institutes, which would contribute to its preservation and combating trafficking across Europe, Minister Boil Banov stressed. Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, for her part, noted that her goal as head of the portfolio would be precisely to work towards the integration of culture into universities, into the creative industry and innovation, with the promotion and socialisation of cultural heritage being one of the top priorities.

   A project on which the European Commission and Bulgaria-s Ministry of Culture will work together is “Artists Meet Schools”. The idea behind the initiative is for world-famous figures in the field of arts and culture to enter the classrooms of European schools, and they to become a creative learning environment. The aim is the real transition from STEM to STEAM in the field of education, and this is why adding “A” (for Arts) is important, Commissioner Gabriel stressed.

   The Minister of Culture assured Bulgaria-s EU Commissioner that the institution will be a partner in the implementation of all projects related to creative industries, which are important sources of employment and economic growth.

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