Scottish Government
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Strengthening Scotland’s voice in Europe

Newly appointed External Affairs Minister Fiona Hyslop will join the First Minister today and meet with the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek to promote and strengthen Scotland's voice in Europe.

Ms Hyslop will also host the 'European Festivals: Driving Success Through Culture' seminar at Scotland House, engaging with key cultural figures from Scotland and the EU and contributing to European thinking on culture.

Ms Hyslop and the First Minister are taking part in Scotland Week in Brussels, which aims to strengthen economic and cultural ties with Europe.

Ms Hyslop said:

"The Scottish Government is committed to working with our European partners to strengthen economic and cultural links and ensure Scotland's interests, needs and priorities are represented. Scotland Week in Brussels is an excellent platform from which to do that and I will join the First Minister to meet with European leaders and ensure Scotland's voice is heard.

"I also look forward to strengthening Scotland's cultural and creative ties with Europe. The continued success of our festivals and creative industries ensure Scotland remains a hub of culture and creative talent, with a wealth of cultural assets, all of which makes a sizeable contribution to the Scottish economy.

"Today's seminar will look at the challenges that European cities face in positioning themselves as global cultural centres. I am delighted to be in Brussels at the earliest opportunity to promote Scotland and contribute to European thinking about culture, as we mark the culmination of our successful Year of Homecoming."

Scotland Week in Brussels is a series of events to mark St Andrew's Day and the conclusion of the Year of Homecoming. All the Scotland Week events support the European Union's Year of Creativity and Innovation. It is an opportunity to showcase Scottish excellence and provide a platform to strengthen Scotland's cultural and economic links with European partners.

Participants in the 'European Festivals: Driving Success Through Culture' seminar at Scotland House, Brussels, include Faith Liddle (Director of Festivals Edinburgh); Lynne Halfpenny (Head of Culture & Sport, City of Edinburgh Council); Joanna Baker (Managing Director, Edinburgh International Festival and Chair, Festivals Edinburgh); Katherine Deventer (Secretary General, European Festivals Association) and Vladimir Sucha (Director of Culture and Communications, DG Education and Culture, European Commission).

The Edinburgh Festivals contribute £184 million annually to the Scottish economy, while the creative industries achieve an annual turnover of £5 billion and support 60,000 jobs.

The Scottish Government's £6 million Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund helps to maintain the Festivals' competitive edge, enabling Scottish talent to flourish, and raising the profile of Scottish cultural achievements on the international stage.

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