Europe. Space for creativity?


When there are crises or new situations, we may need some creative thinking to tackle them -the standard “tools” or attitudes may not work. On the other hand, creativity and innovation are  crucial factors in the economic and social development of Europe in a globalised world.


A new European Commission, new problems and challenges, with Brexit and climate change as the background issues. Which of those challenges should, or must, Europe take on? Above all, just  how creative is our continent? How does artistic creation affect innovation? Why do so many companies like to surround themselves with art and culture?




On the 18th of September 2019, at 7.30 p.m., European Dialogue organised  a stimulating cultural event in the congenial ambience of the Promenade. Among others, Dipl.- Ing. Tanja Prusnik, the new  President of the Association of Visual Artists in Austria, and Dr. Hannes Swoboda, Member of the European Parliament (1996-2014) and since 2017 an Honorary Member of ED.


Creativity is a widely used term; it stands for success, modernity and new trends. Therefore it has the appeal of the new. Whether in the context of people, companies, cities or regions – creativity is viewed as a positive trait and it conveys an image of dynamism. Creative people and artists are key figures here, as they develop ideas and metaphors, acting as ambassadors who contribute to stronger social networking and an increased exchange of experiences.


When art gets things moving, politics must listen, says Tanja  Prusnik.  As an example she cited feminist approaches, especially the role of the woman as a pioneer, as well as the largest ever art project in a public area, in Klagenfurt’s Wörthersee Stadium. The slogan is; Stand up for the Forest! She also emphasised the importance of multilingualism and an increase in support for it. For Styria, the autumn festival called Steirischer Herbst, Europe’s oldest interdisciplinary festival for contemporary art, is an important stimulus and contribution.



"Culture is an element for me, a liberal cosmopolitan society." Swoboda, who gave an exciting insight into the political view of creativity in Europe. It also means, according to Swoboda, consciously more open, willing to discuss and prepared for today's world! He was not satisfied with the new commission and its composition. In addition to staff shortcomings he wished for more creativity and a commissioner of his own for diversity and culture "! He advocates a "dynamic concept of culture" characterised by transnational influences and contributions.



Mag. Stefan Börger, Head of the Unit for Europe and External Relations, representing the State Councillor MMag. Eibinger-Miedl, provided some thought-provoking+ input: "Does the European Union not take culture seriously enough politically?" He referred to the decision of future EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen not to devote her own portfolio to cultural policy.

Culture is an important element in the learning process, helping to build and strengthen communities. Tanja Prušnik appealed to us to cross the borders and get to know the neighbours. It is important to open up our world view!



A culture-based creativity is able to find answers to questions that politicians can no longer solve, according to Tanja Prušnik, the creator of a project with refugees, which was exhibited in the parliament in Vienna and achieved great public awareness , "How can I manage to make people, through art, do something, contribute?" This is, according to Prušnik, the crucial challenge of  creative thinking. For Chairman Andreas J. Schröck, who was represented on the podium by the team of European Dialogue, creativity is the decisive key competence for future challenges. Europe must use and promote that potential! Cultural and Creative (economic) chapter - a wealth of ideas, artists and creative people - if there are enough, there is the potential to use them!




Following the event, Tanja Prušnik was given the honorary membership of European Dialogue "in recognition of her dedication, her pioneering work and vision in the field of art and culture and raising awareness in Europe".

"Art can open the heart, in a time of restrictions."
Dr. Hannes Swoboda