The European Parliament allocates 2.5 billion to culture

The European Parliament adopted on Wednesday ‘Creative Europe’, the program aimed at the cultural and audiovisual sectors, which represents the EU’s largest financial commitment to date in this ambit. The new program, which sees its budget almost doubled compared to the 2014-2020 period (when it had 1.4 billion), will dedicate 2.5 billion euros to the EU’s cultural and creative sectors. MEPs recognize the importance of supporting them in their recovery after the crisis caused by the pandemic, which has forced numerous musical and cultural facilities across Europe to close.

In addition to the significant increase in the budget, MEPs managed to put more emphasis on inclusion and the contemporary and live music sectors, which are among those hardest hit by the pandemic, as well as a higher co-financing rate for small-scale projects. In negotiations with the Council, Parliament also managed to include an obligation for the program to promote female talent and support women’s professional and artistic careers. Women are still underrepresented in decision-making positions in cultural, creative and artistic institutions.

«The new edition of ‘Creative Europe’ has two central objectives: the preservation, development and promotion of European cooperation in cultural diversity and heritage, and the increased competitiveness and the economic potential of the cultural and creative sectors, particularly the audiovisual sector. This is key given the disastrous effects of the pandemic. Now it is up to Member States to make concrete efforts to support the recovery,” said rapporteur Massimiliano Smeriglio (S&D, IT).

For her part, the president of the Culture Committee of the European Parliament, Sabine Verheyen (EPP, DE) recalled that around 3.8% of Europeans work in the cultural and creative sectors, “however, this sector has faced always facing challenges, including competition with large commercial productions and a highly fragmented transnational cultural market. «The lockdown has had a dramatic effect on cultural communities in the EU, which They need our support more than ever. This significantly better-funded programme, recognizes the added value of culture to our European way of life, and is a first step to help them face the challenges of globalization and digitalisation,” he noted.

Next steps

The program approved by the Council will come into force immediately after being published in the official gazette. To ensure a smooth transition with respect to the previous edition, the Regulation provides for its retroactive entry into force, from January 1, 2021.

The majority of ‘Creative Europe’ (1.4 billion euros) will go to the ‘Media’ section, which supports development, promotion and distribution of European films and audiovisual works within Europe and beyond its borders.

The ‘Culture’ section supports cross-border cultural and creative projects, that is, cooperation (networks, platforms, innovation projects) between organizations and professionals in the areas of music, books and promotion of literature and architecture as well as EU cultural awards and initiatives.

Under the third transversal section, support for the media sector is included, for the first time, focused on promoting the media literacypluralism, freedom of the press and quality journalism, as well as helping the media to better face the challenges of digitalization.

Since 2013, Spain has launched 618 cultural projects thanks to Creative Europe, of which 436 were exclusive to the national territory and the rest collaborated as partners with other countries. Regarding European cooperation proposals, in 2020 Spain benefited from funding for ten smaller-scale national projects selected as leaders and 24 Spanish organizations participated as partners, according to the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

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