Investing in Europe’s next generation by investing in culture

 

As the EU has started discussing the proposed recovery plan, 99 organisations from across Europe’s cultural and creative sectors are uniting their voices to alert EU leaders : our sector needs strong and systemic support measures to recover from this crisis.

As it is now well understood, the cultural and creative world is one of the first and hardest hit by the crisis. According to the Commission’s own estimates, some parts of our sector – which accounts for €509bn in value added to GDP and over 12 million full-time jobs – are expected to lose up to 80% of their turnover in the 2nd quarter of 2020.

We have a higher than average percentage of self-employed workers, freelancers, micro-businesses and youth employment, which makes us particularly vulnerable in times of crisis.

As the European economy is slowly restarting, it is far from business as usual. Cultural actors are gradually resuming their activities, but all have to implement strict safety rules which means they won’t be operating at full capacity for the foreseeable future and are therefore facing challenging economic decisions. From individual creators and creative workers all the way to big production and media companies, the whole value chain is impacted.

And yet the recovery package announced by the Commission on 27 May does not reflect the reality of the cultural and creative sector, despite the encouraging messages by the Commission and the strong position taken by the European Parliament. The proposal on the table falls way short of our sector’s expectations:

  • Despite being identified as one of 14 of the hardest hit ecosystems, there is neither a sector specific instrument for culture, nor a clear indication on whether or how we can benefit from different instruments. The section on REACT-EU in the Commission’s Communication (*1) refers to culture, but there is no guarantee that we will receive appropriate support.

As for Creative Europe, the EU’s only programme specifically dedicated to the cultural and creative sector, the Commission’s announcement is a missed opportunity and a real disappointment. Along with the budget dedicated to education and youth, the budget dedicated to culture is the only one to decrease compared to the Commission’s own 2018 proposal, and it is a far cry from the European parliament’ position (*2). Quite ironic for a recovery plan named “Next Generation EU”.

To bring the EU’s support for our sector to a level that is commensurate with its contribution to the EU’s economy and its citizens’ wellbeing, we call on Member States and the European Parliament:

• To push for a substantial increase of the Creative Europe budget. We fully support the European Parliament’s proposal for a budget of €2.8bn.

• To guarantee that the entire sector can benefit appropriately from the recovery plan’s various instruments.

Let’s invest in culture to show the EU’s #NextGeneration that we really care about their future!

 

1. https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/communication-europe-moment-repair-prepare-next-generation.pdf
2. The European Commission is proposing €1.5bn for Creative Europe (€1.7 in 2018 prices) while it proposed 1.85bn in 2018 (€1.6bn in today’s prices ).

 
Please find here the pdf version of this statement.

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