Hello! Bonjour! Und: Guten Tag!
It’s great to be with you today. And it’s great to see so many participants from both sides of the Atlantic in this virtual creative industries trade mission.
There is no doubt: These are challenging times. For almost a year, cultural institutions have been partially or permanently closed. Large events or fairs cannot take place in their usual form. We have mobilised large government aid programmes. But we all know that the situation for the creative industry is very difficult nevertheless.
And yet, one thing is clear: Arts and culture are hit hard by the pandemic. But they are also part of the solution.
Because what COVID-19 clearly shows is that a global challenge like a pandemic can only be solved by a joint effort. And that is: not only by states, but also through the engagement and commitment of civil society, scientists, and artists.
Creative comes from creating. This is not by chance: The creative sector constantly creates new ideas, new concepts, and new perspectives. This makes it an important economic factor. In both Canada and Germany it accounts for approximately 3% of GDP.
But it’s also a lab for innovation.
And as you, Minister Guilbeault, have rightfully pointed out, it’s also an important vehicle to foster diversity, inclusion and social cohesion. These are values, which are at the centre of our cultural policy. And I’m convinced: In the future we must put an even bigger focus on them. And to be frank: I think we can learn a great deal about embracing diversity from Canada.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Innovation needs cooperation.
The German Federal Foreign Office has therefore set up a specific programme to support exchange in the creative industries. Our goal is to create hubs and platforms of exchange beyond borders.
When it comes to the German-Canadian exchange, we can build upon a strong basis. Cultural relations between Germany and Canada are flourishing. There is a close exchange between universities and scientists. Museums and libraries cooperate closely. There are countless cultural co-productions.
And in this framework, there is also a strong focus on handcraft traditions and innovation.
Just as importantly, youth exchange between Germany and Canada is prospering; and Canada is among the most popular countries for German students studying abroad.
I’m sure Canada’s participation as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurter Buchmesse in 2020 and in 2021 will further stimulate this fruitful exchange.
The welcoming address by Prime Minister Trudeau and the exclusive interview with Margaret Atwood were highlights of last year’s digital book fair.
And this year, two excellent exhibitions will be part of Canada’s Guest of Honour appearance: “Magnetic North” at the Schirn Kunsthalle and “Phase Shifting Index” at the Frankfurter Kunstverein. These exhibitions will offer Canadian creatives a great opportunity to present their work to a broader public and to strengthen contacts between Germany and Canada’s creative industries. Let’s hope, all these great events can take place with as few Corona-restrictions as possible.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The pandemic has given a boost to new digital formats. This trade mission shows what is possible in the digital world.
I’m sure the one-to-one business meetings as well as the panel discussions will provide great impulse for future collaboration.
Therefore, my big thanks go to Minister Guilbeault and the Canadian Embassy for organizing this mission.
I’m very much looking forward to our future cooperation. And I wish all participants inspiring discussions and an exciting exchange.
Thank you. Merci. Und: Dankeschön.