European Year of Creativity and Innovation


The European Commission has received much praise for putting innovation and creativity at the centre of attention in 2009, but it remains to be seen whether the special year can go beyond mere symbolism and deliver concrete results at a time when Europe is engulfed in a global economic recession.

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Special 'European Years' focusing on specific themes have been held since 1983. Their main purpose is to increase public awareness and stimulate political debate across the EU on a given topic. The most recent editions were the European Year of Workers' Mobility (2006), the European Year of Equal Opportunities (2007) and the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue (2008). 

2009 has been dedicated to creativity and innovation. Throughout the year, the European Commission will jointly organise campaigns, events and initiatives at EU, national, regional and local levels in conjunction with the Czech and Swedish EU presidencies. Funding will come from existing Community programmes.

The EU executive nominated 27 European personalities from various fields as special ambassadors for the year, headed by Esko Tapani Aho, executive vice-president of Nokia and a former prime minister of Finland. 

The ambassadors' key task is promoting the public interest in relevant fields such as education, culture, innovation or enterprise. They are supporting the Year in their countries and worldwide and participate in the leading events.