Europe’s cultural and creative sectors call for ambitious EU budgetary measures to get through the COVID-19 crisis

Europe’s cultural and creative sectors call for ambitious EU budgetary measures to get through the COVID-19 crisis

Europe’s cultural and creative sectors were among the first and hardest hit by the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. They will also be among the last. Across Europe, almost all cultural activities have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely, while venues and retailers have closed with disastrous consequences for all creators’ and cultural and creative professionals’ livelihoods, as well as the ecosystem as a whole. Millions of jobs are on the line.

In its Resolution on how to combat the COVID-19 crisis and its consequences¹, the European Parliament rightly underlines that the cultural and creative sectors “have been hit especially hard by the fallout from the COVID-19” and “calls for the EU and the Member States to provide support to the cultural and creative sectors as they play an important role for our economy and our social life and are severely affected by the current crisis”. Commissioners, Ministers and MEPs are also regularly stressing the vital importance of protecting and supporting the cultural ecosystem and creators all over Europe, to ensure that they can continue to create  and invest - for the enjoyment of all Europeans, both during and after the crisis.

So far, the EU has provided much-needed financial support to Member States to protect jobs, workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but has failed to adequately address the specific needs of our sectors. The Cultural and Creative Sectors, which stand at €509bn in value added to GDP and over 12 million full-time jobs (7.5 % of the EU’s work force), must be considered as priority sectors and benefit from ambitious budgetary measures. Only a limited number of countries have introduced broad furlough compensation schemes while the majority of professionals working in the cultural and creative sectors were put on unpaid leave as very few employers have the means to continue paying salaries or compensation without state support. In addition, our sectors have a much higher than average percentage of self-employed workers with little to no access to social benefits who find themselves in extremely precarious situations as they are left without resources.

As the European Commission is due to propose a new long-term EU budget and recovery plan, it is now time to put words into action. The undersigned organisations from across Europe’s cultural and creative sectors are calling on the EU:

  • To propose an ambitious budget for the future Creative Europe Programme 2021-2027 – the only EU framework Programme specifically dedicated to the cultural and creative sectors – which represents today a mere 0.15% of the overall EU Budget. The European Parliament’s proposal for a budget of €2.8bn should be considered the absolute minimum for a Programme commensurate with the sector’s contribution to the EU economy and wellbeing, and with its needs and challenges in these times of crisis.
  • To ensure that the cultural and creative sectors, are included as priority sectors in the EU’s planned Recovery Fund, with sector specific funding. Our sectors are among the hardest hit, and our interconnected value-chains are fragile - if they are to get through the crisis, especially SMEs, urgent support is needed, including liquidity/cash flow measures leading into 2021.
  • Boosting the EU’s loan guarantee facility for the cultural and creative sectors under the future InvestEU programme, with increased budget, guarantees and flexibility. Loan guarantee instruments have a demonstrated trigger effect on investment, which is urgently needed in these difficult economic times.
  • To secure a strong budget for Horizon Europe’s new cluster “culture, creativity and inclusive society”. In light of their innovation-driven and risk-taking nature, Europe’s cultural and creative sectors should benefit from a strong budget under Horizon Europe.
  • To ensure that EU funds, notably structural funds, reach the cultural and creative sectors swiftly and effectively.
  • To ensure that a meaningful part of the EU funding is also deployed to support the livelihood of creators, creative workers and freelancers throughout this unprecedented crisis.

In these hard times, as the contribution of Europe’s cultural and creative sectors to the social, economic and artistic development of Europe couldn’t be more tangible, yet our sectors find themselves in danger of partial collapse, it is more important than ever to preserve and support Europe’s arts, culture and heritage and the values they promote.

Investing in our culture is investing in our future. Now is the time to turn words into concrete measures.

1. European Parliament resolution of 17 April 2020 on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences (2020/2616(RSP))


  • ACT - Association of Commercial Television in Europe 
  • AEC - Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen 
  • AEPO-ARTIS - Association of European Performers’ Organisations 
  • CAE - Culture Action Europe 
  • CEATL - The Council of European Literary Translator Associations 
  • CEPI - European Audiovisual Production 
  • CEPIC - Centre of the Picture Industry 
  • CICAE - International Confederation of Arthouse Cinemas
  • CIRCOSTRADA - European Network for Circus & Street Arts 
  • ECA - European Choral Association – Europa Cantat 
  • ECCD - The European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity 
  • ECSA - European Composer and Songwriter Alliance 
  • EDN - European Dancehouse Network 
  • EFA - European Festivals Association 
  • EFFORTS - European federation of fortified sites 
  • EFJ - The European Federation of Journalists 
  • EFNYO - On behalf of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras 
  • EFP - European Film Promotion 
  • EHTTA - European Historic Thermal Towns Association 
  • EI - Europa International 
  • EIBF - European and International Booksellers 
  • EJN - Europe Jazz Network 
  • ELIA - globally connected European network of higher arts education
  • EMC - European Music Council 
  • EMCY - European Union of Music Competitions for Youth 
  • EMEE - European Music Exporters Exchange 
  • EMU - European Music School Union 
  • ENCATC - The European network on cultural management and policy
  • ENCC - European Network of Cultural Centres 
  • EOFed - European Orchestra Federation 
  • ERIH - The European Route of Industrial Heritage 
  • ESNS - Eurosonic Noorderslag 
  • EuroCinema 
  • Europa Cinémas 
  • Europa Distribution - The European Network of Independent Film Publishers and Distributors 
  • Europavox 
  • Eurozine - European network of cultural journals 
  • EVA - European Visual Artists 
  • FEDEC - European Federation for Professional Circus Schools 
  • FEP - Federation of European Publishers 
  • FERA - Federation of European Film Directors 
  • FIA - International Federation of Actors 
  • FIAD - The International Federation of Film Distributors’ Associations
  • FIAPF - International Federation of Film Producers Associations 
  • FIM - International Federation of Musicians 
  • FSE - Federation of Screenwriters in Europe 
  • GESAC - European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers
  • IAMIC - International Association of Music Information Centres 
  • IAO - International Artist Organisation of Music 
  • ICMP - The Global Voice of Music Publishing 
  • IETM - International network for contemporary performing arts 
  • IFPI - International Federation of the Phonographic Industry 
  • IFRRO - International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations
  • IGCAT - International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism
  • IMMF - International Music Managers Forum
  • IMPALA - Independent music companies association
  • IMPF - Independent Music Publishers International Forum 
  • IMZ - International Music + Media Centre 
  • IN SITU - European platform for artistic creation in public space
  • ISFE - The Interactive Software Federation of Europe
  • IVF - International Video Federation 
  • JM International 
  • KEA European Affairs 
  • Live DMA - European network for music venues, clubs and festivals
  • Liveurope - the platform for new European talent 
  • MCA - Michael Culture Association: European Trans-Domain Network for Promotion & Valorization of Digital Cultural Content 
  • NEMO - The Network of European Museum Organisations 
  • On the Move 
  • REMA - the European Early Music Network 
  • Res Artis - Worldwide Network of Arts Residencies 
  • SAA - Society of Audiovisual Authors 
  • SHAPE - Sound, Heterogeneous Art and Performance in Europe
  • Sistema Europe - The Sistema Europe Association 
  • Trans Europe Halles
  • UNI MEI - UNI global union – media, entertainment & arts 
  • UNIC - International Union of Cinemas 
  • Yourope - The European Festival Association

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