While Europe is quickly falling back into a quasi-full lockdown, the negotiations on the EU’s long-term budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027, are entering the final stretch. Members of the European Parliament and representatives of the Member States meeting in the Council are set to reach an agreement on the overall figures of the next MFF early next week, leaving a bunch of weeks between the end of the month and the beginning of December for holding trialogues on the specific programmes, including Creative Europe.
The MFF, together with its programmes, needs to be adopted by the EU’s co-legislator by the end of the year to become operational on 1st January 2021.
Creative Europe, the only EU seven-year programme supporting transnational cultural cooperation, is among the 15 flagship programmes whose envelope the European Parliament wants to increase in the ongoing talks with the Council. For more than two years now, Culture Action Europe has been asking to #double4culture, i.e. to bring the financial envelope for Creative Europe to 2.8 billion euros, from the current 1.4 billion. Following the deal reached by the Heads of State and Government at the July’s special European Council, now Creative Europe accounts for 1.64 billion euros, a very little increase of +8% in comparison to what the Commission had proposed earlier in Spring.
The Parliament has been vocal about increasing the budget for Creative Europe, including in its recent resolution on the Cultural Recovery of Europe.
While the ambitions for a more solid MFF have been downplayed by Member States so far, a slim increase for Creative Europe would make the difference for a severely underfinanced programme despite its great potential, in the Commission’s own words.
Doubling Creative Europe’s budget is more urgent than ever. This is even more true at a time when cultural agents in Europe are on the brink of collapse, facing yet new lockdown measures closing venues and witnessing new limitations of social contacts.
The fresh money coming from the Recovery Fund, especially that managed at national level through the national recovery and resilience plans, can provide a short- to mid-term answer to tackle these many issues, as we have been asking together with more than 100 European cultural networks.
At the same time, it is crucial that culture is upheld not only at national level and through national plans, yet also at an aggregate and common European level, by supporting transnational cultural cooperation and mobility – which is the clear purpose of an EU programme such as Creative Europe.