Given the many points in common between the EP report and the Council position, an adoption of ‘Creative Europe’ in a so-called first reading is still possible, even if the negotiations on the global budget may impact on the ongoing inter-institutional negotiations, opening the door to a possible stalemate. A first reading agreement would ensure that the programme could be launched on time for 2014, and reduce the risk of a funding gap between the current programming period and the new one.
With the vote of the Culture Committee on the Parliament report on ‘Creative Europe’ on 18 December 2012, the first phase of the negotiations ended. Until then, the three Institutions involved in the decision-making, namely the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, had been working to prepare their respective position on the programme. In 2013, a new phase of the negotiations has begun: the inter-institutional discussion between the three EU Institutions, known as the “Trilogue”, to reach a compromise between their respective positions.
Many demands of the ‘we are more’ campaign have been taken into account to date. The positive elements introduced by the EP and the Council and supported by CAE include a better balance between the recognition of the economic dimension and the intrinsic and social value of arts and culture; the adoption of the access to culture and creative works as an objective for the whole Programme with a particular focus on children, young people and underrepresented groups; the explicit inclusion of museums and literature as components of the cultural and creative sector; the recognition of the specific role of European networks; the replacement of the initial audience building notion with the one of audience development; the Financial Guarantee Facility, the explicit inclusion of micro enterprises in the definition of SMEs and a balanced focus on non-for-profit projects for the cultural strand. CAE will now focus its efforts on advocating for the approval of the budget and a quick adoption of the programme in a first reading.
Eventual cuts to the programme’s budget are likely to have an impact on the structure of the programme itself. The initial budget proposed by the EC included the creation of the Financial Guarantee Facility while also ensuring increased resources for the programme’s grants. If the programme’s budget is reduced, there might be a debate in favour of the lending instrument at the expense of the resources available for the grants. CAE has supported the Financial Guarantee Facility and will continue to do so, but only at the strict condition that its implementation won’t result in a reduced budget for the programme’s grants.
 The proposal will become a regulatory instrument upon convergence of the vote by the Council’s Common Position and the Parliament. If there is a divergence between the readings done by both bodies, the text is passed on for a second reading in order to resolve the existing differences.