With the advent of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) meant to curb the effects of the pandemic in the EU Member States, uncertainty still hangs over if and how these funds will reach the cultural and creative sectors.
Last Tuesday night, the European Parliament gave go-ahead to €672.5 Recovery and Resilience Fund (RRF), the biggest building block of the €750 billion Next Generation EU recovery package. The regulation was adopted with 582 votes in favour, 40 against, and 69 abstentions. The RRF will support actions in the key EU policy areas such as green transition, digital transformation, crisis preparedness, as well as children and youth.
To be eligible to apply for these funds, Member States must show due evidence of their actions in the above-mentioned policy areas and should earmark at least 37% to climate and at least 20% to digital actions in their National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs). According to the regulation, only those Member States that respect the rule of law and fundamental values of the Union can receive money from the RRF.
If the National Recovery and Resilience Plans will specifically address the roadmap for the recovery of the cultural and creative sectors, hit hard by the pandemic, still remains unclear. In its Resolution on the Cultural Recovery of Europe, the European Parliament urged the EU Member States to dedicate a specific fraction of Next Generation EU to the cultural ecosystem. Such a call has been reiterated in the RRF Regulation, which encourages national governments to earmark at least 2% of their NRRPs for culture. 104 MEPs for the six major political groups have also followed up on this call by writing to the heads of States and governments, a joint effort initiated by the Cultural and Creators Friendship Group (CCFG) of the European Parliament.
This demand is strongly supported by the cultural ecosystem too, making sure that Member States fully include culture in their recovery strategies. Coordinated by Culture Action Europe and co-signed by 110 pan-European cultural networks and organisations, open letters calling to dedicate at least 2% of their NRRP to culture were sent to the 27 Heads of Governments, Ministers of Culture, European Affairs and Finances. A call to encourage Member States to make culture an integral part of their recovery strategies was sent to the European Commission, which will be monitoring the implementation of the RRF and assessing the national plans before the Council gives the green light.
National governments have started dialogues with the European Commission on the structure of their plans and have until the end of April to present their drafts for evaluation. To date, eight countries have still to share their national strategies with the Commission. The funding will be available for three years and EU governments can request up to 13% pre-financing for their recovery and resilience plans.