It is time for mid-term elections at the European Parliament. After the appointment of Roberta Metsola (EPP, Malta) as the new speaker of the House, parliamentary committees have also been holding ballots to renew their own leaderships for the next half of the current legislative term, until June 2024. On 26 January MEPs in the CULT Committee re-elected Sabine Verheyen (EPP, Germany) as Chair. Romeo Franz (Greens/EFA, Germany), Dace Melbārde (ECR, Latvia) and Victor Negrescu (S&D, Romania) were also confirmed as first, second and third Vice-Chairs, respectively. Michaela Šojdrová (EPP, Czech Republic) is the new fourth Chair, replacing Milan Zver (EPP, Slovenia).
Following the round of elections, the French Minister for Culture Roselyne Bachelot took the floor to present the priorities of the Presidency-in-office of the Council of the EU. Culture Action Europe members had already a preview here, in the first newdigest of the year, ranging from culture in the digital context to cultural democracy.
Minister Bachelot, who will be one of the speakers at our #CulturalDealEU Annual Policy Conversation coming up on 1 February, announced that “culture will be at the heart of our work during the first part of 2022” following three directions: intercultural exchanges, mobility, and access to culture as a “refuge to European citizens during these difficult times”. France has the “protection and promotion of diversity of digital cultural content” as one of its key priorities in the cultural domain along with the protection of multilingualism in the digital world and empowering cultural diversity.
Additionally, the Minister addressed the necessity of a structural mechanism formulation ensuring more mobility for artists and professionals in the cultural and creative sectors. Minister Bachelot stressed that at the helm of the Council, France will specifically focus on access for the cultural and creative sectors and industries to financing schemes, capacity building in the sectors, the strengthening of exports, the benchmarking of those organisations which have accelerated their ecological transition, as well as the promotion of a new strategy on cultural heritage and digitalisation encouraging access and fighting against cultural artefacts trafficking.
In dialogue with MEPs, Roselyne Bachelot also stressed the need to develop cultural democracy as a strategic tool to facilitate the participation of all citizens in cultural activities, especially the youth. 2022 is indeed the European Year of the Youth, although as also highlighted by Chair Verheyen, the link with culture has not yet been made very evident.