With many events and conferences back in person, the fall policy season in Brussels was kicked off by a closed-door meeting organised by the Cultural Creators Friendship Group (CCFG), the cross-party gathering of Members of the European Parliament supporting the cultural and creative ecosystem. Under Chatham House rules, the Roundtable on the Status of the Artists happened on 12 October in the Parliament’s premises in Brussels, creating a new moment for exchange and dialogue between MEPs and the cultural and creative sectors’ and industries’ representatives, as well as Commission and Council. Culture Action Europe was among the invited speakers, alongside other key players at the EU level, with a long-standing history of working on the topic, such as the European Music Council, Pearle*, ECSA, SAA, FIA, GESAC, AEPO-ARTIS, ECCD, CreativeFLIP and Prometheus21.
One year after the resolution on the situation of artists and the cultural recovery of Europe, which was overwhelmingly supported by the European Parliament, the informal Roundtable promoted by the CCFG has been a key moment to take stock of what has been done so far on the topic, which is among the three strategic priorities of CAE for the period 2022-2024, and to strategise together about what comes up next, and what cards MEPs should play. The Open Method of Coordination (OMC) Group made up of independent experts appointed by the Member States will publish its report in Spring 2023, assessing relevant experiences at the national level, which will serve as a basis and as the most advanced paper for renewing the discussion on how, with which tools, according to what schemes and intervening in which areas to push for a European Status of the Artists (a label which, however, might not find consensus in the Council).
Waiting for the Member States to make the next move, the CCFG is considering giving a new push to European actions regarding working conditions in the cultural and creative sectors and industries, and to this end, it consulted with stakeholders. The MEPs present in the room were Ibán García del Blanco (S&D, Spain), Monica Semedo (Renew Europe, Luxembourg, who was the rapporteur for the report), Romeo Franz (Greens/EFA, Germany), Diana Riba i Giner (Greens/EFA, Spain), Alexis Georgoulis (The Left, Greece).
The meeting again highlighted that in the Parliament there is a major bipartisan political commitment to seize the momentum. After the pandemic, and with the war back on the continent, working conditions of artists and cultural workers are currently enjoying a major prominence in the EU cultural policy debate, which is very likely to stay high on the agenda also in light of the upcoming new Council Work Plan for Culture 2023-2026, the primary roadmap for coordination of national cultural policies that is to be adopted by Culture Ministers on 29 November, at the Culture Affairs Council meeting under the Czech Presidency.