Southern Europe bets on culture for innovation and peace

This content was published on May 04, 2022 – 13:41

Paula Fernandez

Braga (Portugal), May 4 (EFE).- The Spanish, Portuguese and Italian Heads of State defended today in the Portuguese city of Braga a commitment to the potential of culture for innovation and economic progress, but also as an instrument of peace at a time marked by the war in Ukraine.

King Felipe VI of Spain and the Presidents of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, closed the XV Cotec Europe Meeting at the Circo Theater in Braga (northern Portugal), where they reflected on the synergies between culture and innovation, without avoiding allusions to the crisis created by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

“Cultural industries are important for promoting innovation in the economic sector and contributing to competitiveness”, defended the Spanish Head of State, who stressed that culture is an intangible heritage “key to economic progress and good -being social”.

And in terms of innovation, in southern Europe, we must continue to learn, but there are also “things to learn”, said the king, accompanied in Braga by the first Spanish vice-president and minister of economic affairs. and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño.

Among the cultural assets that must be exploited and promoted, he highlighted Spanish and gave as an example the “Valle de la Lengua” project, developed by La Rioja, to promote the language as a “precious tool for territorial development, by promoting transformation projects around Our language.”


The project, explained the president of La Rioja, Concha Andreu, during the forum, aims for “the machines to speak our language” because “to publish science in Spanish is also to create an economy”.

“We need to transfer words from natural language to that of machines (…) 600 million people speak Spanish, it is important to index and create a corpus of terms in Spanish and that machines speak to us in Spanish “, did he declare. .

It is an initiative with a national but also international vocation, which could be transferred to Portugal “with the value and weight that the Portuguese language has”, said Andreu.

Rebelo de Sousa also encouraged “the promotion of culture and innovation industry” to “help create jobs and help the economy recover”.

The most recent crises, such as the coronavirus pandemic, have been an example of the synergies between culture and innovation, recalled the Italian Mattarella, who saved “innovative models”, such as the fact that 90% of museums have implemented place online procedures to overcome restrictions .


With the pandemic already in the background, the war in Ukraine marked the conversations of the forum, where the King of Spain called for “peace, cooperation, respect for human rights and the desire to a peaceful settlement of disputes” before the “terrible aggression” experienced by the Ukrainian people.

Rebelo de Sousa opted for collaboration between the different economies to overcome the impact of the war, which he described as “unjust, intolerable and illegitimate”, and stressed that the Braga meeting is “a sign of life against death, peace against war and hope against despair”.

The appointment to Cotec is “a sign of the future” because “we are building peace and culture here”. “The pandemic has not stopped us and the war will not stop us,” he concluded.

The Italian president called for “imagining how culture can be a vector of peace” and for giving the European Union “strategic autonomy”.

“At a time when war has returned to the European continent, with thousands of victims and devastating destruction, culture and innovation must be instruments of peace, dialogue and the future”, he said. He insists.


The forum concluded with a lunch at the Universidad do Minho, where the three heads of state walked through the historic center of Braga, where pre-pandemic customs were recovered.

The king and presidents of Portugal and Italy were surrounded by neighbors and tourists waiting outside the theater doors, where some managed to punch heads of state and even take a “selfie”.

The Cotec project was born in 1990 and since 2005 has brought together the Heads of State of Spain, Italy and Portugal in annual rotating summits to reflect on the problems and common needs of companies and economies in the context European. EFE


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