Culture Endangered at December European Council Meeting

December 11, 2019, 2:56 pm

The future of Creative Europe 2021-27 is currently in the hands of the EU Heads of State and governments that will meet in Brussels on December 12-13. Culture Action Europe had a look at the new negotiation box, which contains more detailed figures prepared by the Finnish Council Presidency. While the document details only allocations to budget headings rather than specific programmes, suggested cuts to programmes under the ‘Cohesion and Values’ Heading will seriously affect the amount previously proposed for the Creative Europe programme by the European Commission.

The Commission had proposed a 17% overall increase to the Creative Europe budget in May 2018, from 1.403 million EUR (2014-2020) to 1.642 million EUR (2021-2027). As the overall figure for the EU budget proposed by the Finnnish presidency is lower than the Commission’s proposal (€1087bn vs. €1134bn), allocations to each of the respective Headings will also be smaller. Thus far, funding for Heading 2 “Cohesion and Values”, which includes the Creative Europe programme, is proposed to be cut by €17.918 million, or 4,6%. This may have serious implications for Creative Europe and its culture sub-programme, hindering the impact of an already deeply underfunded programme.

Today, Creative Europe represents a mere 0,15% of the overall EU Budget. This is by no means proportionate to the sectors’ contribution to the EU economy, which contributes €509bn in value added to GDP and over 12 million full-time jobs (7,5 % of the EU’s workforce). Moreover, culture is a distinct and vast component of European unity, which is essential for building a shared future for all European citizens. The tremendous role of culture in social cohesion, health and well-being and economic growth has been consistently recognised by European institutions over the past several years, creating an unprecedented opportunity to seize its potential for building a strong and united European community. Therefore, the cultural and creative sectors have mobilised together with civil society organisations to call on EU leaders to show a higher level of ambition in shaping a brighter future for Europe through increased EU investment in culture and the arts.

During these difficult negotiations, the European Parliament has stood firm with the cultural and creative sectors, upholding their November 2018 proposal to double the current budget available for culture from €1.4bn to €2.8bn. The rapporteur for Creative Europe in the CULT Committee announced he will halt negotiations with the Council unless more reasonable figures come out of the European Council meeting on Thursday, December 12th. The European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education (CULT Committee) has promised to not let the let the Council decide on the future of culture in Europe without a good, democratic fight – and neither will the cultural sector. We urgently call on our members, partners and all cultural stakeholders to put pressure on their Ministers of Culture, Finance and Foreign Affairs and ask for doubling of the EU culture budget by sending this letter. We ask you now to lend your support for the cultural sector to prosper through a reinforced Creative Europe budget and recognition of culture’s wide impact.