The future of cultural funding in Europe

November 26, 2019, 1:33 pm

Within the European institutions, discussion on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) is still ongoing: Europe’s long term budget is not expected to be approved before early 2020. Heated debates are expected at the December European Council meeting, where the Finnish presidency will present a negotiation box with figures for the 2021-2027 budget to the heads of states.

Doubling the culture budget is the minimum request put forward by the cultural and creative sectors (CCS) to the EU member states, urging the European Council to support the European Parliament’s proposal to increase funding for the Creative Europe program to €2.8bn total. Culture Action Europe has campaigned for #Double4Culture and #1%forCulture since the beginning of MFF negotiations in 2018, highlighting the fundamental role of arts and culture in different EU policy areas and its contribution to building a shared, prosperous future for all European citizens.

Today, Creative Europe represents a mere 0,15% of the overall EU Budget. This is by no means proportionate to the sectors’ contribution to the EU economy, which contributes €509bn in value added to GDP and over 12 million full-time jobs (7.5 % of the EU’s workforce). However, we surely can do better than this, and cultural stakeholders are calling on EU leaders to show a higher level of ambition in shaping a brighter future for Europe through increased EU investment in culture and the arts.

[Send this letter to your ministers of Culture, Finance and Foreign affairs and ask for their support regarding increased public spending for culture and to allow the cultural sector to prosper through a reinforced Creative Europe budget and recognition of culture’s wide impact.]

In addition to an increase in the Creative Europe budget and committing 1% of EU spending across policy fields to culture, the European CCS demand easier access to European funding for (non-profit) cultural organisations. “Due to their non-market oriented and mission-driven engagement, vital for creating and fostering the non-economic value of culture, non-profit cultural organisations require public support above all,” reads the statement recently published by Culture Action Europe.

However, access to the next generation of EU funding programs for non-profit cultural organisations is seriously at risk. New financial assessment rules prevent large numbers of non-profit organisations within the CCS from accessing EU funding, particularly in certain EU countries (Germany, Spain, Poland) where national regulations do not permit non-profit organisations to hold the reserves needed to be rated financially “strong” by the EU.

In order to facilitate access to 2021-2027 EU programs for non-profit organisations eligible for funding, Culture Action Europe proposes an addition to the legal framework on next generation programs. As in the legal basis of Erasmus+ (2014-2020), the following clause should be added to next generation programs such as Creative Europe, Erasmus+, Rights and Values and Horizon Europe: “organisations in the fields of education, training, youth and sport that have received over 50% of their annual revenue from public sources over the last two years shall be considered as having the necessary financial, professional and administrative capacity to carry out activities under the Programme”.

By implementing these changes, the future of cultural funding as well as the continuity of the European CCS and their relevant, cross-cutting societal contributions can be ensured.

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