Creative Europe will be spared from funding cuts next year under the newly-agreed EU budget for 2024. The only EU programme dedicated to transnational cultural cooperation will actually see a small increase, which will bring available resources to 335 million euros, slightly more than originally tabled by the European Commission in June.
The Council of the EU, where the bloc’s governments sit, and the European Parliament reached a political agreement on the 2024 annual budget in the early hours of Saturday 11 November, at the end of the so-called conciliation procedure aimed at reconciling the diverging positions seen in the past few months. The conciliation committee is composed of representatives of the 27 Member States and of 27 Members of the European Parliament (MEP), with the Commission acting as an honest broker.
Total commitments for next year are set at 189.385 million euros. Out of this envelope, 335 million euros will be devoted “to support artists and creators”, under the People, Social Cohesion and Values Heading, a statement from the Commission reads, while official tables are still to be submitted.
The final figure greenlighted overnight means that the proposed 40 million euros cuts put forward by the EU Council in July, as part of its negotiating text, did not go through. On the contrary, the European Parliament obtained a slight increase in funds available for culture, in line with its position adopted by the plenary in a motion for resolution in mid-October.
In the summer, a coalition of more than 70 organisations from the cultural and creative sectors, coordinated by Culture Action Europe, called on the EU’s national governments to reconsider proposed cuts, as any reduction in Creative Europe funding in 2024 would further hinder the slow recovery from the pandemic, as well as the energy crisis, of the cultural and creative sectors. Cuts would have been even more consequential as next year will be the first one when annual funding for Creative Europe will start to decrease compared to the period of 2021-2023, when resources were front-loaded to sustain the rescue efforts.
The formal votes to adopt the annual budget and mark the end of the process will happen in the Council on 20 November and in the plenary of the European Parliament on 22 November. The issue of greenlighting a budget for 2024 has been deeply intertwined with the parallel need to agree on the top-up of the ceilings of the seven-year Multiannual Financial Framework which is running until 2027. An agreement needs to be reached, in principle, before year end and requires the unanimity of all Member States.