After postponing parliamentary hearings because of Spain’s snap elections in July, the acting Spanish government presented the priorities of the rotating Presidency of the Council, which will run until 31 December. On 7 September, Minister for Culture and Sport Miquel Iceta Llorens presented Spain’s main focuses on cultural policy to the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) – you can rewatch it here.
Spain is pioneering an initiative to recognise culture as a global public good, in line with long-standing UNESCO pledges as evoked by the MONDIACULT 2022 final declaration. On 26 September in Cáceres, an informal meeting of EU Culture ministers will debate universal access to culture. The aim of the debate is for attendees to sign the Cáceres Declaration — “a commitment to prioritising culture within the European project and across public policies” — thus highlighting the declaration’s role in promoting social cohesion and well-being and recognising culture as an essential public good. Ultimately, this declaration results in a push to include a cultural goal in the post-2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, as called for by a coalition of global cultural networks including Culture Action Europe through the #Culture2030Goal campaign.
According to the Spanish programme, Council Conclusions (the main policy tool a Presidency-in-exercise has to advance priorities close to them) will be dedicated to the videogames industry in an attempt to “outline a common European industrial strategy.” However, the working and social situation of artists and cultural workers remains high on the agenda, representing a key strand of the current Council Work Plan for Culture.
During the meeting of cultural ministers in Brussels on 23-24 November, for the first time, the Council will hold a policy debate on cultural workers’ rights, at a time when — according to the calendar — the European Parliament will have approved its legislative report calling for an EU-wide initiative. For Iceta, the debate will be the first step towards the adoption of a framework for the professional and social situation of artists and cultural workers. In Iceta’s words, “Being committed to culture means protecting the living and working conditions of cultural workers.” Culture Action Europe couldn’t agree more.