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CAE open letter to president-elect von der Leyen

Subject: Bring culture back in the Commissioner’s title

Dear Ms. President-elect,

We congratulate you on finalising the challenging task of forming the future European Commission.

Culture is grouped together with youth, research, innovation, sport and education in the portfolio of Ms Gabriel. We are pleased to see culture embedded in this range of areas which are vital for the future of the European Union. However, we are deeply concerned with the downgrading of the position of culture within the Commissioner’s portfolio, primarily reflected in the fact that “Culture” is missing from her title.

Culture is a distinct and vast component of the European unity, which is essential for building a shared prosperous future for all European citizens. The tremendous role of culture in European integration has been consistently recognised by the European institutions in the past few years, creating an unprecedented opportunity to seize its potential for building a strong and united European community. Now, with culture missing from the official title of the designated commissioner, we have serious doubts as to whether it will remain at the appropriate level of recognition.

Undoubtedly, all cultural and creative sectors are powerful drivers of innovation; moreover, culture is closely linked with the youth policies. However, it remains an autonomous domain of enormous dimensions bringing its own contribution to the construction of our societies.

Therefore, on behalf of cultural organisations co-signing this letter, we call for changing Ms Gabriel’s title into “Innovation, Youth and Culture”. 

Considering culture’s immense role in very different fields of sustainable development, we appreciate that you have embedded some cultural aspects in the portfolios of other Commissioners. To reinforce the new structure, we call for a specific mandate to foster dialogue and synchronise actions among other commissioners and vice-presidents dealing with culture-related matters

Kindest regards,

Teresa Badia, Secretary General of Culture Action Europe

List of signatories: (CAE has also launched an online petition to support the call for changing Ms Gabriel’s title to “Innovation, Youth and Culture”)

Association des Centres Culturels de Rencontre (ACCR)

ARTCENA – Circostrada network

Associació d’Escriptors en Llengua Catalana

Association Européenne des Conservatoires

BJCEM Network

Center for Kunst & Interkultur – CKI

Culture Action Europe


Dace Melbārde, 2nd Vice Chair, CULT committee


EUROCINEMA, Association of film and television producers


European Choral Association

European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA)

European Concert Hall Organisation

European Cultural Foundation

European Dancehouse Network

European Federation of National Youth Orchestras (EFNYO)

European Music Council

European Theatre Convention

Europeana Foundation


EWC – European Writers’ Council

FECED (Spanish Federation of Dance Companies)



IG Kultur Österreich

Interarts Foundation

International Association of Art (IAA) Europe

ITI Germany on behalf of EU Secretariat for German Culture NGOs

Live DMA

Luca Bergamo – Vice Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Culture, City of Rome

Michael Culture


National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries Latvia

Niklas Nienaß, MEP- Member of the CULT Committee

On the move

Onda / Office national de diffusion artistique

Opera Europa


PROCIREP (société des producteurs de cinéma et de télévision)

Public Libraries 2030

Resartis – Worldwide network of arts residencies

Riksteatern (The National Theatre of Sweden)

SAA – the Society of Audiovisual Authors

Salima Yenbou – MEP, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance

Stichting H401


The British Council

Trans Europe Halles


Visual Artists Ireland (VAI)