Europe’s cultural and creative sectors call for ambitious EU budgetary measures to get through the COVID-19 crisis 

Time to put words into action! 

Europe’s cultural and creative sectors were among the first and hardest hit by the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. They will also be among the last. Across Europe, almost all cultural activities have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely, while venues and retailers have closed with disastrous consequences for all creators’ and cultural and creative professionals’ livelihoods, as well as the ecosystem as a whole. Millions of jobs are on the line. 

In its Resolution on how to combat the COVID-19 crisis and its consequences (https://www NULL.europarl NULL.europa NULL.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2020-0054_EN NULL.pdf), the European Parliament rightly underlines that the cultural and creative sectors “have been hit especially hard by the fallout from the COVID-19” and “calls for the EU and the Member States to provide support to the cultural and creative sectors as they play an important role for our economy and our social life and are severely affected by the current crisis”. Commissioners, Ministers and MEPs are also regularly stressing the vital importance of protecting and supporting the cultural ecosystem and creators all over Europe, to ensure that they can continue to create and invest – for the enjoyment of all Europeans, both during and after the crisis.

So far, the EU has provided much-needed financial support to Member States to protect jobs, workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but has failed to adequately address the specific needs of our sectors. The Cultural and Creative Sectors, which stand at €509bn in value added to GDP and over 12 million full-time jobs (7.5 % of the EU’s work force), must be considered as priority sectors and benefit from ambitious budgetary measures. Only a limited number of countries have introduced broad furlough compensation schemes while the majority of professionals working in the cultural and creative sectors were put on unpaid leave as very few employers have the means to continue paying salaries or compensation without state support. In addition, our sectors have a much higher than average percentage of self-employed workers with little to no access to social benefits who find themselves in extremely precarious situations as they are left without resources.

As the European Commission is due to propose a new long-term EU budget and recovery plan, it is now time to put words into action. The undersigned organisations from across Europe’s cultural and creative sectors are calling on the EU: 

  • To propose an ambitious budget for the future Creative Europe Programme 2021-2027 – the only EU framework Programme specifically dedicated to the cultural and creative sectors – which represents today a mere 0.15% of the overall EU Budget. The European Parliament’s proposal for a budget of €2.8bn should be considered the absolute minimum for a Programme commensurate with the sector’s contribution to the EU economy and wellbeing, and with its needs and challenges in these times of crisis.
  • To ensure that the cultural and creative sectors, are included as priority sectors in the EU’s planned Recovery Fund, with sector specific funding. Our sectors are among the hardest hit, and our interconnected value-chains are fragile – if they are to get through the crisis, especially SMEs, urgent support is needed, including liquidity/cash flow measures leading into 2021.
  • Boosting the EU’s loan guarantee facility for the cultural and creative sectors under the future Invest EU programme, with increased budget, guarantees and flexibility. Loan guarantee instruments have a demonstrated trigger effect on investment, which is urgently needed in these difficult economic times. 
  • To secure a strong budget for Horizon Europe’s new cluster “culture, creativity and inclusive society”. In light of their innovation-driven and risk-taking nature, Europe’s cultural and creative sectors should benefit from a strong budget under Horizon Europe. 
  • To ensure that EU funds, notably structural funds, reach the cultural and creative sectors swiftly and effectively. 
  • To ensure that a meaningful part of the EU funding is also deployed to support the livelihood of creators, creative workers and freelancers throughout this unprecedented crisis.

In these hard times, as the contribution of Europe’s cultural and creative sectors to the social, economic and artistic development of Europe couldn’t be more tangible, yet our sectors find themselves in danger of partial collapse, it is more important than ever to preserve and support Europe’s arts, culture and heritage and the values they promote. 

Investing in our culture is investing in our future. 

Now is the time to turn words into concrete measures.

Signatories:

ACT – Association of Commercial Television in Europe

AEC – Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen

AEPO-ARTIS – Association of European Performers’ Organisations

ANIMATION EUROPE

CAE – Culture Action Europe

CEATL – The Council of European Literary Translator Associations

CEPI – European Audiovisual Production

CEPIC – Centre of the Picture Industry

CICAE – International Confederation of Arthouse Cinemas

CIRCOSTRADA – European Network for Circus & Street Arts

ECA – European Choral Association – Europa Cantat

ECCD – The European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity

ECSA – European Composer and Songwriter Alliance

EDN – European Dancehouse Network

EFA – European Festivals Association

EFFORTS – European federation of fortified sites

EFJ – The European Federation of Journalists

EFNYO – On behalf of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras

EFP – European Film Promotion

EHTTA – European Historic Thermal Towns Association

EI – Europa International

EIBF – European and International Booksellers

EJN – Europe Jazz Network

ELIA – globally connected European network of higher arts education

EMC – European Music Council

EMCY – European Union of Music Competitions for Youth

EMEE – European Music Exporters Exchange

EMU – European Music School Union

ENCATC – The European network on cultural management and policy

ENCC – European Network of Cultural Centres

EOFed – European Orchestra Federation

ERIH – The European Route of Industrial Heritage

ESNS – Eurosonic Noorderslag

EuroCinema

Europa Cinémas

Europa Distribution – The European Network of Independent Film Publishers and Distributors 

Europavox

Eurozine – European network of cultural journals

EVA – European Visual Artists

FEDEC – European Federation for Professional Circus Schools

FEP – Federation of European Publishers

FERA – Federation of European Film Directors

FIA – International Federation of Actors

FIAD – The International Federation of Film Distributors’ Associations

FIAPF – International Federation of Film Producers Associations

FIM – International Federation of Musicians

FSE – Federation of Screenwriters in Europe

GESAC – European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers

IAMIC – International Association of Music Information Centres

IAO – International Artist Organisation of Music

ICMP – The Global Voice of Music Publishing

IETM – International network for contemporary performing arts

IFPI – International Federation of the Phonographic Industry

IFRRO – International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations

IGCAT – International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism

IMMF – International Music Managers Forum

IMPALA – Independent music companies association

IMPF – Independent Music Publishers International Forum

IMZ – International Music + Media Centre

IN SITU – European platform for artistic creation in public space

ISFE – The Interactive Software Federation of Europe

IVF – International Video Federation

JM International

KEA European Affairs

Live DMA – European network for music venues, clubs and festivals

Liveurope – the platform for new European talent

MCA – Michael Culture Association: European Trans-Domain Network for Promotion & Valorization of Digital Cultural Content 

NEMO – The Network of European Museum Organisations

On the Move

REMA – the European Early Music Network

Res Artis – Worldwide Network of Arts Residencies

SAA – Society of Audiovisual Authors

SHAPE – Sound, Heterogeneous Art and Performance in Europe

Sistema Europe – The Sistema Europe Association

Trans Europe Halles

UNI MEI – UNI global union – media, entertainment & arts

UNIC – International Union of Cinemas

Yourope – The European Festival Association

Joint call for ambitious EU budgetary measures for culture