In the Italian and German economy and society, culture and creativity are key factors. On the one hand, the Italian tradition of craftwork, and Italy’s leading position in furniture design and fashion. On the other hand, German inventiveness and the Bauhaus school, now 100 years old, which has left its mark on design and on the era as a whole. Italy and Germany also provide three million jobs thanks to these traditions, making up a third of employees in the European creative sector.
The sector is now more dynamic and open than ever before. Its computer game developers, film makers, designers, musicians and architects make a significant contribution to Europe’s economic prosperity. According to the European Commission, 8.8 million people work in this industry. Its contribution to Europe’s gross national income amounts to 4.4 percent and has been increasing constantly for many years.
The most recent conference “Vigoni for Europe 2019” organised by the Federal Foreign Office in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was a shining example of German‑Italian cooperation in the creative sector, bringing together creative minds, politicians and businesspeople last week in the Villa Vigoni, the German‑Italian Centre for European Excellence, on Lake Como and at the Triennale Milano.
Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini and German Minister of State for International Cultural Policy Michelle Müntefering also participated in the discussions. The Minister of State is convinced of the following:
The European creative sector is strong because it acts across borders. The message of ‘Created in Europe’ is this: We want to use creative solutions to make people’s lives better, improve exchange between our societies and seek ways to protect natural resources.
Sustainability as a driving force for innovation
The issue of sustainability is a crucial driving force for the creative sector. Consequently, design and creativity open up many innovative solutions for an attractive and sustainable life on our planet. Art, culture and architecture can thereby make a practical contribution to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One example of how to create sustainable cities by combining ecology and architecture was presented at the conference by Stefano Boeri, architect and President of the XXII International Exhibition of Triennale Milano, with his green twin towers “Bosco Verticale” in Milan (photo).
The new Italian Government in Rome intends to place a sharp focus on the issues of ecology, innovation and sustainable growth. These issues are also very important to Germany in both a national and an international context. During its upcoming EU Council Presidency in 2020, Germany wants to strengthen the role Europe plays in sustainable development and in fair and sustainable globalisation. For example: environmental protection in supply and value chains is a central aspect of the German National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights. The Federal Government calls upon German enterprises to pay closer attention to upholding environmental and social standards in production processes. Germany also wants to make progress on this issue at European level during its EU Council Presidency.
Focus on the fashion industry
The fashion industry faces particular challenges with regard to the issue of sustainability, as its ecological footprint is huge. The fashion industry is responsible for ten percent of global CO2 emissions, and the German and Italian fashion industries together supply more than 50 percent of all fashion products in the EU. Through “Vigoni for Europe 2019”, the two countries therefore raised awareness of the need for sustainable supply chains, responsible consumption, more environmental education and technological progress to make the fashion industry more sustainable. Another specific initiative involving several German and Italian firms was launched by the French President Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit in Biarritz: With the Fashion Pact for a more environmentally friendly fashion industry, 32 companies representing 150 labels made a commitment to participate in measures to mitigate climate change and to protect biodiversity and the oceans.