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High Level Conference
Rebuilding Europe with Culture 

Thank you all for your participation and/or interest in “Rebuilding Europe with Culture – Where do we stand?” event.

We are grateful for all high-level speakers who joined this conference and lent their support to Rebuilding Europe with Culture.

You can watch here the recording of the conference.

Follow us and support #RebuildingEurope campaign @authorsocieties  

With the participation of Jean-Michel Jarre, internationally renowned electronic music pioneer, organised by GESAC in cooperation with MEP Christian Ehler and the Federation of European Book Publishers.


This event aimed at gathering high level EU and national decision-makers to discuss Europe’s response to the urgent needs of one of its most vibrant sectors inviting them to share their views on the role culture will play in the recovery of the European economy, and showcase their policies and plans.


The three key themes discussed were:


Reopen – the key to start again

Recover – culture’s place in rebuilding of Europe

Rebalance – new rules of engagement in the EU Digital Market



Why did we hold this event?


Rebuilding Europe with culture is a bold statement. It derives from the Rebuilding Europe EY study released at the start of 2021. The study starkly laid out COVID-19’s destruction of European creative industries, but it also delivered a message of hope: if properly supported, Europe’s rich and diverse creative economy could lead an economic and social recovery, spurring the kind of change that will propel Europe into the future.


European decision-makers responded positively to the study, pledging budgetary increases and supporting efforts to reopen cultural venues. Many Member States did likewise, pledging investment and support to reignite their local cultural scenes.


This event, took place roughly one year after the EU launched its unprecedented historical financial plan for the recovery of European economy after the Covid-19 pandemic, six months after Member States submitted their recovery plans, and the start of the operational phases of European programmes, such as Horizon Europe, InvestEU, Creative Europe.

It allowed prominent figures from the European Commission, European Parliament and national governments to exchange information and share views about the progress made so far for the recovery of the cultural sector and their plans for 2022. Alongside this, creative industry representatives and high-profile personalities reported on the situation on the ground and present a vision for the future.


The Cultural and Creative Industries have been identified by the European Commission as one of the 14 key ecosystems for Europe. The recent GESAC commissioned EY study confirms CCIs as a key driver for the economy, representing 4.4% of EU GDP in terms of total turnover in 2019, and employing 7.6 million people, 8.4 x more jobs than in the telecommunications industry.


CCIs were one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic, with a loss of approximately 31% of revenues; a sharp fall that affected the entire CCI value chain for a long time.

Together with Culture Action Europe the European Cultural Foundation, and Europa Nostra, we support and are supported by the #CulturalDealEU campaign. 

Speakers and biographies

Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin

Minister of Culture for France

Minister Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin was appointed Minister of Culture on July 6, 2020, to the government of Jean Castex.

In 2002, Minister Bachelot-Narquin joined the Raffarin government as Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development, under the presidency of Jacques Chirac. In 2007, she was appointed Minister of Health and Sports and from 2010 to 2012 was Minister of Solidarity and Social Cohesion in François Fillon's governments.

After her political career, Minister Bachelot-Narquin worked in the media field. First, she co-hosted the TV-program Le Grand 8 from 2012 to 2016, then became the host of 100% Bachelot for one year. At the same time, she regularly took part in the radio program, Les Grosses Têtes, on RTL.


Thierry Breton

European Commissioner for Internal Market

Engineer, with a Supélec qualification in computer science, Thierry Breton begins his career as an entrepreneur in the new technologies sector.

He runs a number of companies in the market for goods, as well as in the IT sector and new technologies, as Thomson Multimedia, a global electronics company and multinational operator France Télécom.

In 2005 he was appointed Minister for Economic Affairs, Finance and Industry of France, which he held until 2007. Following his ministerial office, he teaches the governance at the Harvard Business School.

In 2009, he became CEO of Atos, a technology and digital service company until 2019. In 2019 he became the European Commissioner for the Internal Market. He is responsible for industry, services, digital, defence and space, as well as tourism and audiovisual.


Sonia Draga

Book publisher


Sonia Draga is a Polish woman entrepreneur. She created in 2000 the publishing house “Sonia Draga” based in in Katowice. It quickly became one of the most recognizable books publisher on the Polish market, mainly due to the publication of Dan Brown's novels - typescript of Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code. The best-selling series Fifty Shades of Gray had a similar success. She is also a translator, photographer, and author. Since September 2020 Sonia Draga is the president of the Polish Book Chamber, representing as such the whole Polish publishing industry.



Dr Christian Ehler 

Member of the European Parliament


Christian Ehler is a Member of the European Parliament (EP) since 2004.

In the European Parliament Christian Ehler is a member and EPP coordinator of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and a substitute member of the Committee on Culture. In 2014 Christian Ehler MEP (EPP) and Pervenche Berès MEP (S&D) founded the Intergroup “Cultural and Creative Industries in Europe”. By establishing the Intergroup in the European Parliament, an open and transparent forum has been created to fuel the much-needed debate on how to ensure a thriving creative economy for the generations to come.

Furthermore, he has been rapporteur of the joint report by the Industry and Culture Committee of the European Parliament entitled “A coherent EU policy for the cultural and creative industries in Europe”. Currently he is the EPP rapporteur on the Horizon Europe Programme.


Mariya Gabriel 

European Commissioner

Mariya Gabriel is the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, Youth and Sport. Under her leadership, the new Horizon Europe, Erasmus+, and the cultural strand of Creative Europe programmes (2021-2027) will be defined and implemented.

Her main priorities are excellence in research, innovation, and education (ERA, EEA, EIA); tackling the R&I divide in Europe; Europe as a leader in strategic innovation areas through the digital and green transition, with a particular attention for young people and regions. “No one left behind” and “Think out of the box” are her mottos.


Ibán Garcia del Blanco

Member of the European Parliament

Ibán García del Blanco, started very young a full-time career in politics, serving from local to national administration. As a lawyer, he has specialized in cultural management. He is a supporter of the cultural and creative sector, area of which he has been in charge within his political party for more than 5 years. He was Executive Chair of Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), public agency that orchestrates the support for the promotion of culture, both in Spain and overseas, before entering the European Parliament.

Following his election as an S&D member of the European Parliament in 2019, he serves as Vice Chair on the Legal Affairs Committee. García del Blanco is the S&D coordinator on the new Special Committee for Artificial Intelligence. He serves also as a substitute member on the Culture Committee in the European Parliament, and he is a member of the Cultural and Creators Friendship Group in the European Parliament.



Adonis Georgiadis 

Minister of Development and Investments Greece


Currently serving as the Minister of Development and Investment since 2019 in the Cabinet of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, he is the vice-president of Nea Demokratia. He previously served as Deputy Minister for Development, Competitiveness and Shipping in the Cabinet of Lucas Papademos (2011–2012) and Minister for Health in the Cabinet of Antonis Samaras (2013–2014). Adonis Georgiadis was elected Member of Parliament in Athens B region in the elections of 2007 and 2009 with the nationalist Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) political party and in 2012 joined the Nea Demokratia political party.

He is graduated from the Faculty of History & Archaeology of the School of Philosophy of the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens. In 1993, he took over the management of publications 'Georgiadis-Library of Greek'. In 1994, he founded the Liberal Studies Center "Greek Education".


Jean-Michel Jarre

French composer, producer, visionary, innovator, and cultural ambassador


Jarre is one of the first electronic musicians to find international fame in 1977 with his smash number one album, Oxygène. Jarre, a three-time Guinness World Record holder for largest outdoor performances, was always keen to present his music in one-off events and turn them into unforgettable experiences. Jarre's visionary creative output is always linked to his innovative exploration of new technological trends.


Nina Obuljen  Koržinek 

Minister of Culture and Media, Croatia

Nina Obuljen Koržinek has more than 25 years of professional experience in the fields of international relations, culture and media policies. Prior to her appointment as the Minister of Culture in 2016, she was working as a research associate at the Institute for Development and International Relations in Zagreb. Her consultancy and expert engagements include work for UNESCO, Council of Europe, European Cultural Foundation, UNDP, European Parliament etc. She received the European Cultural Policy Research Award for her research on the impact of the EU enlargement on cultural policies that was published in the book “Why we need European Cultural Policies: impact of EU enlargement on countries in transition”, 2006.

Former Assistant Minister and State Secretary, she was a member of the negotiating team for the Croatian accession to the EU responsible for the fields of culture and education as well as information society and media. She was also the head of the Croatian delegation for the negotiations on the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.


Dace Melbārde

Member of the European Parliament

Ms Dace Melbarde is a member of the European Parliament since 2019 and serving as 2nd Vice-Chair of Culture and Education committee at the EP. Previously she was a long-serving Minister of Culture at her native Latvia. Before she worked as a Director of the Latvian National Centre for Culture. Between 2009 and 2011 she was Country Manager of the British Council in Latvia. From 2004 to 2009, she served as Under-Secretary of State on Cultural Policy issues of the Latvian Ministry of Culture where she was instrumental in developing the new Long-Term National Cultural Policy Guidelines for 2006 – 2015 “Nation-State”. From 1999 to 2004, Ms Melbarde was appointed Secretary-General of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO, contributing successfully to its promotion within Latvia and UNESCO.

David Sassoli

President of the European Parliament

David Maria Sassoli is an Italian politician and President of the European Parliament from the centre left Democratic Party, who previously worked as a journalist and TV anchor.

David Sassoli has had a long and high-profile career as a professional journalist. In 2004, he was elected as President of the Press Association of Rome and in 2007, he became Deputy Director of the Italian state broadcaster, TG1. In 2009, David Sassoli launched his career in politics with the newly formed Democratic Party and was elected as a MEP. He subsequently became head of the Democratic Party's delegation in the European Parliament. He was re-elected as an MEP in 2014 and was also elected as a Vice President of the Parliament. In 2019, David Sassoli began his third term as an MEP and was elected President of the European Parliament.


Andrej Šircelj

Minister of Finance of Slovenia and president of the ECOFIN Council of the EU.

Andrej Šircelj was appointed in 2005 State Secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister with a mandate at the Ministry of Finance. In charge of key government projects, he cooperated with many international institutions. Between 2008 and 2009, he was a member of the Board of Directors at the European Investment Bank. In 2011, he was elected as member to the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, where he chaired the Committee on Finance and Monetary Policy. He was re-elected as member to the National Assembly in the 2014 and 2018 elections. Andrej Šircelj is currently Minister of Finance of the Republic of Slovenia and presiding the ECOFIN Council.


Olivier Toth

President of European Arenas Association

Olivier Toth has been the Chief Executive at Rockhal since its opening in 2005. Under his leadership the Rockhal has become the leading concert venue and promoter in Luxembourg and has risen in the ranks of European venues. The Rockhal also houses Rocklab, incubator and creative hub providing support and promotion services to artists and entrepreneurs in the music sector in Luxembourg. In 2008 Olivier initiated Sonic Visions, Luxembourg’s annual music lab and festival. He is a founding member and member of the board of music: LX (Luxembourg’s music export office), a founding member of Liveurope – the live music platform for new European talent and of INES – Innovation Network for European Showcases.

In September this year Olivier was elected as President of the European Arenas Association. He was previously on the EAA board and was co-founder of the EU Subgroup which morphed into the Arena Resilience Alliance during the Covid-19 crisis when it became clear that the live event industry needed a unified voice through which to open dialogue with EU governing bodies.


Francesca Trainini


Francesca Trainini spent the formative years of her career in London, where she worked for Virgin Publishing, meeting incredible music, great writers and artists, innovative management styles and ideas in music business.

Francesca set up and ran independent label and publisher Oyez of which she continues to be a senior partner and, since 2014, is managing director of peermusic Italy and Peer Southern Productions.

Francesca is vice president of independent label association PMI Italia, vice president of Italian MPA FEM; she chairs the Board of IMPALA and is member of the WIN Board, as well as founding member of IMPF (Independent Music Publishers Forum).


Rafal Trzaskowski 

Mayor of Warsaw

Rafał Trzaskowski is the Mayor of Warsaw since 2018. He is a member of the European Committee of Regions and the Board of Eurocities. In 2020 Rafał Trzaskowski was the Civic Platform’s candidate for the Presidency of Poland.

Former MP, MEP and Vice-Chair of the European People’s Party, in 2014 served as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and in 2013 as a Minister for Administration and Digitalization in the Cabinet of PM Donald Tusk.

Along with the mayors of the capitals of the other Visegrád Group countries, signed the Pact of Free Cities in December 2019 to promote "common values of freedom, human dignity, democracy, equality, rule of law.



Sabine Verheyen 

Member of the European Parliament

Sabine Verheyen has been a Member of the European Parliament for the German Christian Democrats (CDU) since 2009. In 2019 she got elected as Chairwoman of the Committee for Culture and Education, after having served as coordinator for the European People`s Party in this committee for five years. She focuses in particular on education and media policy as well as digital agenda issues. Furthermore, she is a member of the special committee on disinformation. As former mayor of Aachen (1999 to 2009), she focuses additionally on issues that are of relevance to the local authorities. Sabine Verheyen studied architecture at FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences.


Véronique Desbrosses 

General Manager of GESAC

Ms Desbrosses is the General Manager of GESAC, the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers which represents Europe’s biggest authors’ societies. Starting her career at the European Commission, Ms Desbrosses went on to work as a lawyer for an American lobby firm in Brussels. She then became the head of European affairs for a French legal firm, before becoming the General Manager of GESAC, from its very inception in 1990. Ms Desbrosses has seen all the major developments in the role of copyright/authors’ right within the European Union legislation, and advocates with conviction for fair remuneration for authors, and better legislation for collective management organisations.


Shada Islam 

Founder and Managing Director New Horizons Project

Shada Islam is a respected and well-known Brussels-based commentator on European Union who now works independently as an advisor, analyst, strategist and commentator on Europe Africa Asia Geopolitics Trade and Inclusion.

She runs her own Brussels-based global media, strategy and advisory company, New Horizons Project. Shada worked for nine years as Director of Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe. She is currently Senior Advisor at the European Policy Centre as well as Non-Resident Fellow at the Centre for Global Development. Shada is also a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin) and a Solvay Fellow at the Vrije University Brussel (VUB).

In 2017, Shada was selected as one of the 20 most influential women in Brussels by the magazine Politico.

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