After Sweden, it is time for Spain to take over the baton of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, the body representing the 27 governments of the bloc. The Spanish Presidency will run until 31 December. It comes at a crucial time for the EU, when institutions are trying to agree on as many dossiers as possible before the end of the legislative term in about 10 months time. With national snap elections upcoming on 23 July, however, many fear this might cause some uncertainty under the EU’s roof as well.
Spain is the first country of the so-called ‘trio’ which includes Belgium and Hungary, the two countries which will hold the presidency during 2024, at a time of institutional changes for the Union, since next year will be featuring both the European elections of the 6-9 June next and the appointment of a new European Commission after the summer.
Spain gave a sneak preview of the priorities of the semester, as it is customary, at the beginning of July. The usual presentation of the programme before the European Parliament, initially scheduled for July, as well as the hearings of the competent Ministers, including the one for Culture, have been moved to the Autumn, in light of the electoral period.
When it comes to culture, Spain confirms that the topic of working conditions in the cultural and creative sectors is a key issue for a country that has recently developed its own Status of the Artist, and while the debate at EU level is in full swing following the publication of the joint draft report of the CULT and EMPL committees of the European Parliament. In this regard, as anticipated earlier this year in one of Culture Action Europe’s Brussels Decoders, the Presidency will give a new push to the subject through a policy debate among Culture Ministers of the 27 Member States, on 23-24 November, “on the need to improve the working, social security and tax conditions of artists through the promotion of the proposed European Status of the Artist and of cultural workers, which would establish a common framework and enable cross-border mobility”.
In addition, Madrid will commit to strengthen “the cultural dimension as a fundamental pillar in the consolidation of a spirit of European citizenship, leading a strategy to support the recognition of culture as an essential public good”, in line with the MONDIACULT Final Declaration.
Culture in rural areas is also in the spotlight, following the recent sixth edition of the “Foro Cultura y Ruralidades”, which took place in Cuenca on 4-7 July, within the framework of the Spanish Presidency, and where Culture Action Europe contributed in two panels.
Against this backdrop, the Presidency aims at promoting the development of cultural landscapes – something Spain is piloting also at home -, “convinced of their benefits for the socio-economic development of local communities, and of their potential to serve as a fundamental tool for addressing demographic and climate challenges.”
Other priorities under the Culture headline include fostering good practices in sustainable heritage management, which will be one of the thematic lines of the Informal Ministerial Meeting on Culture to be held in Cáceres on 25-26 September, and adopting Council Conclusion which for the first time will address the videogame sector, launching “a common European video game industry strategy.”
This article is a preview of the July’s issue of the Brussels Decoder, Culture Action Europe’s monthly members-only publication containing regular updates and analysis on EU(ropean) cultural policy and politics. Discover all the advantages linked to the membership here.