Ways forward for a culture comeback 

May 31, 2021, 2:10 pm

Last week, six political groups from the European Parliament – EPP, S&D, Renew, the Greens/EFA, ECR, and the Left – came together to organize an online conference on Cultural Recovery in Europe. As a result of the event, a joint declaration in support of a strong culture comeback was signed by all the six political groups and addressed by the Commission. The recording of the event is available in English, Spanish, and French.

This event aimed at exploring possibilities for an EU-wide approach to support the cultural ecosystem, with a focus on ways to reactivate Europe’s cultural events and venues, following the official EU Commission communication, which states that the Commission will develop guidelines for festivals and other cultural venues and activities. As recalled in the EY report, not only performing arts and live music were especially affected, with a 90% and 76% drop respectively, but 46% of respondents said they would not feel comfortable going to a concert for several months, and 21% said they would not feel comfortable going for several years.

Cultural recovery is part and parcel of a sustainable European recovery, as recalled by the Council conclusions of 18 May, at the end of the Culture Council chaired by the outgoing Portuguese Presidency. During the press conference,  the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education Mariya Gabriel – announced, among the immediate measures that will be taken, that “a website which will show the various means for finance available for the cultural and creative sectors. We are working on it now and it will be available by September next”

The joint declaration by the MEPs also addresses ways to overcome the fragility of the sectors and the precariousness of artists and other professionals. “We, therefore, call on the Commission to propose a European framework for working conditions in the cultural and creative sectors and industries, which would reflect the specificities of the sector and would introduce guidelines and principles with a view to improving working conditions, paying particular attention to transnational employment”, reads the letter.

During its meeting on 27 May, the CULT Committee held an exchange of views on the Culture Action Europe’s background analysis on “The situation of artists and the cultural recovery in the EU – realized at the request of the CULT Committee of the European Parliament and in collaboration with the independent researcher Mafalda Dâmaso. As one of the so-called “concomitant experts”, Culture Action Europe has put forward the key findings and recommendations of the study, as well as answering questions from the European Parliament Members.

Re-opening is only the first step. Cultural recovery is part and parcel of a sustainable European recovery, as recalled by the Council conclusions of 18 May. As recalled during the first in a series of three webinars of the OECD project, culture plays an important role in ensuring inclusive and cohesive societies. The promotion of cultural participation and ensuring diversity of the cultural offer can help mitigate factors leading to social and economic marginalization. Building cultural capabilities and promoting cultural participation is, therefore, a precondition for a European recovery. 

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