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Culture ministers meet before Tartu 2024 launch to enhance cooperation

Tartu 2024 opening ceremony.
Tartu 2024 opening ceremony. Source: Airika Harrik / ERR

On Friday, prior to the opening festivities of Tartu 2024 European Capital of Culture, Estonian Minister of Culture Heidy Purga (Reform), together with her counterparts from Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, and Ukraine, held several meetings to discuss cross-national cultural cooperation and exchange experiences.

During a morning meeting with Latvian Minister of Culture Agnese Logina, Lithuanian Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys, and Finnish Minister of Science and Culture Sari Multala, the ministers discussed their respective countries' cultural policy plans for the current year and shared experiences on creative economy and sustainable culture.

"In our region, everyone faces similar challenges to Estonia – how to keep the cultural sector viable in a tight budget situation, find a balance between building new cultural venues and renovating old buildings, and ensure that children and young people have the opportunity to engage in culture," said Estonian Minister of Culture Heidy Purga (Reform).

"Our neighbors also recognize that culture is not just an expense but provides opportunities to stimulate the economy at various levels. They also share concerns about how to help Ukraine in its struggle against aggression. I am pleased that the celebrations of Tartu as the European Capital of Culture provided an excellent opportunity to foster cooperation in a special atmosphere," Purga added.

"Art and culture strongly influence social development, and culture plays an extremely important role in citizens' well-being, resilience, and sense of belonging. In both the Nordic and Baltic countries, the cultural sector affects the entire society, increasing creativity, sustainability, and cross-sectoral innovation," said Finnish Minister of Science and Culture Sari Multala.

In the afternoon, the ministerial meetings continued, with Taras Shevchenko, deputy minister of European integration at the Ministry of Information and Culture of Ukraine, and Ukrainian Ambassador to Estonia Maksym Kononenko joining in, along with Vivian Loonela and Elis Paemurd from the European Commission Representation in Estonia. The focus of the meeting was on Ukraine's path toward joining the European Union.

"Congratulations to Tartu and the whole of Southern Estonia on the title of European Cultural Capital. We hope that this year and our opening day discussions will serve as a platform for promoting European culture and values, where Ukraine also has an increasingly visible and stronger role. It is important to collectively address challenges such as the resilience of European societies to disinformation and propaganda, the protection of cultural heritage and values in times of crisis, and strengthening the horizontal impact of the cultural sector," said Lithuanian Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys.

"Congratulations to Tartu for the title of European Cultural Capital 2024! Latvia is inspired by Tartu's approach to conceptualizing the arts of survival through the emphasis on cultural and natural heritage, as well as knowledge and traditions. I wish for this year in Tartu and Estonia to be filled with bright and unforgettable cultural events and adventures! Tartu provides Latvia with motivation as we prepare for the events of the European Cultural Capital in Liepāja in 2027," said Latvian Minister of Culture Agnese Logina.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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