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INSTITUTIONS / LEGISLATION Europe

94 cultural and creative bodies request EU support to overcome the coronavirus crisis

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- As the European Union starts discussing the recovery plan, Europe’s cultural and creative industries are requesting strong and systemic support measures

94 cultural and creative bodies request EU support to overcome the coronavirus crisis
(© European Union)

While the European Union’s recovery plan is being discussed, a cluster of 94 organisations representing the continent’s cultural and creative industries are voicing their concerns and requesting a strong response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The group includes several notable names, such as CICAE, Animation in Europe, SAA, FIAD, the European Festivals Association, FERA, Europa Distribution and UNIC, to name but a few.

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In their official press release, the organisations explain that the cultural and creative industries were the first and hardest hit by the crisis. According to the European Commission’s estimates, some parts of these industries – which account for €509 billion in value added to GDP and over 12 million full-time jobs – are expected to lose up to 80% of their turnover in the second quarter of 2020. Moreover, the higher-than-average percentage of self-employed professionals, freelancers, micro-businesses and youth employment makes the sector particularly vulnerable.

The organisations claim, “The recovery package announced by the Commission on 27 May does not reflect the reality of the cultural and creative sector, despite the encouraging messages by the Commission and the strong position taken by the European Parliament.”

In detail, the proposal falls a long way short of the group’s expectations for several reasons. First of all, despite the cultural and creative industries having been identified as one of the 14 hardest-hit ecosystems, the bodies report that there is neither a sector-specific instrument for culture nor a clear indication on whether or how they can benefit from different instruments. The section on REACT-EU in the Commission’s communication refers to culture – but, the organisations add, there is no guarantee that they will receive appropriate support.

Speaking about Creative Europe, the group finds the Commission’s announcement “a missed opportunity and a real disappointment”. In this respect, the organisations highlight: “Along with the budget dedicated to education and youth, the budget dedicated to culture is the only one to decrease compared to the Commission’s own 2018 proposal, and it is a far cry from the European Parliament’s position. Quite ironic for a recovery plan named ‘Next Generation EU’.”

Therefore, the 94 bodies call for member states’ and the European Parliament’s support, while suggesting two actions that may bring their provisions to “a level that is commensurate with its contributions to the EU’s economy and its citizens’ well-being”. In particular, the bodies demand a substantial increase in the Creative Europe budget, in line with the European Parliament’s proposal for a €2.8 billion investment (the Commission is currently aiming for a total of €1.5 billion, while it proposed €1.85 billion in 2018), and that the whole sector should be able to benefit appropriately from the various instruments contained within the recovery plan. More to follow.

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