An agreement was reached mid-December, but as February begins the game is not over yet for Creative Europe, the only EU programme specifically dedicated to supporting European cultural and creative sectors and cultural cooperation. The EU institutions still need to formally approve the regulation establishing Creative Europe 2021-2027, while first calls could be out in spring, with projects to be selected after the summer.
The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 as a whole received the green light at the 11th hour after lengthy months of inter-institutional negotiations. Like many other programmes of the new EU’s long-term budget, Creative Europe is now included in the legislative pipeline for the final approval by the EU’s co-legislators: the European Parliament, on the one hand, and the Council of the EU, on the other.
While the procedure has already started and the CULT Committee of the Parliament unanimously backed the agreement at the beginning of January, many regulations are still to be formally adopted by the two institutions. This might delay the final vote for a couple of months.
According to the estimates, the first “new generation” Creative Europe calls could be out at the earliest by April, with selection results published in Autumn 2021, and funding commitments done by the end of the year. Measures with retroactive effect to ensure business continuity for entities such as the European networks and the Creative Europe Desks are foreseen in the new programme.
In the meantime, a formal agreement of the Creative Europe Programme Committee – where representatives of the Member States seat – is necessary for the adoption of the Annual Work Programme, which will serve as a basis to launch the calls for application. The “DNA” of such calls has already been anticipated on several occasions. Linked with the more strategic policy objectives for culture at the EU level, from the EU Green Deal to gender equality, it might help figuring out future consortia in this pre-preparatory phase.
Under the compromise text agreed before the end of 2020, Creative Europe has been incremented by €800 million and will now have an overall envelope of €2.2 billion in 2018 constant prices (2.4 in current prices). Such a figure is very close to the €2.8 billion asked by the European cultural ecosystem and the European Parliament in the past three years. As part of this collective effort, Culture Action Europe also run a dedicated #double4culture campaign. The 2021 budget of Creative Europe should be more than 300 million euros.
The “new generation” Creative Europe confirms some of the key features that were already anticipated in the past months, including a higher co-financing rate of 80% for the small cooperation projects. A lower rate of 60% co-funding will apply to the new category of medium-range cooperations, while 50% will be foreseen for the large cooperation projects. This will make it easier to access funding for entities that have never or rarely participated in Creative Europe calls. It will also likely increase the competition, despite the very small envelope that Creative Europe has in comparison to other MFF programmes.
The Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU has scheduled a presentation of the new Creative Europe programme to stakeholders in Lisbon in June, ideally in a blended format. Dedicated presentations to the stakeholders are also scheduled to take place.