Friday

24th Feb 2017

Focus

Commissioner defends 'art for art's sake' at Edinburgh festival

  • The commission is hoping to push through its pricy 'Creative Europe' package at a time of deep cuts (Photo: Didier Misson)

National governments and the EU should maintain state funding for the arts rather than leave it in the hands of the market said EU culture commissioner Androulla Vassiliou on Monday (13 August).

Vassiliou was speaking at the start of the first International Culture Summit in Edinburgh.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The two-day event at the Scottish parliament, which brings together politicians and artists against the backdrop of the annual Edinburgh festival, comes as governments across Europe are making deep cuts in arts spending.

In a press statement released by the EU executive, she emphasised the need for public funding for culture, saying "culture represents a public good in which every citizen has a stake and I believe that the case for public intervention is as strong today as it has ever been: the markets alone cannot deliver all that a civilised society needs."

Opening the event, Scottish culture minister Fiona Hyslop she the arts and creative sector is "key to economic and indeed social recovery, rather than a distraction from it."

Pointing to the widely acclaimed Olympic opening ceremony created by UK film-maker Danny Boyle, Hyslop said the display had had a "dramatic impact" but was also part of "an enduring movement, creating international sporting connections."

"I hope this summit can leave a similar lasting legacy of increased cultural dialogue between nations," she added.

The devolved Scottish government has cut culture spending by 5 percent since 2010 compared with cuts of 30 percent for the rest of the UK.

However, the European Commission is planning to hike its own culture budget to €1.8 billion for the next EU budgetary cycle in 2014-2020 - an increase of nearly 40 percent.

The ambitious "Creative Europe" proposal, which was tabled by the EU executive at the end of 2011, is currently under discussion by the European Parliament and EU countries' ministers, with a final deal expected early next year.

Europe's arts and creative sector accounts for 4.5 percent of GDP across the EU as well as nearly 4 percent of jobs.

Brussels estimates that up to 300,000 artists would receive funding if EU countries approve the scheme.

Vassiliou said the culture blueprint is a bid by the EU executive to "move away from supporting isolated events and projects towards designing a coherent strategy."

Some governments, led by Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, are opposed to the budget increase and are especially critical of plans to create a new EU loan facility specifically for arts businesses.

Vassiliou defended the loan facility, which would see €210 million from the EU budget leveraged to raise up to €1 billion.

The fund would "improve the access to credit of small and medium enterprises by providing risk protection to banks," she said, adding that it would "use the public money of the EU budget to leverage private funding."

EU countries ponder massive increase in arts spending

The European Commission's plan to launch the world's largest ever cultural funding programme is to be tested in coming weeks as EU states ponder if they want arts spending to go up 37 percent.

Pressure mounts on EU cloud deal as deadline looms

The European Commission is under pressure to keep to its self-imposed September deadline to publish an EU cloud computing strategy, as new evidence revealed widespread public confusion about it.

News in Brief

  1. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  2. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  3. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions
  4. Irish PM expected to quit amid police scandal
  5. After Brexit vote, 100,000 UK firms registered in Ireland
  6. Bayrou to support Macron in French presidential election
  7. British by-election tests Ukip strength after Brexit
  8. Romanian parliament buries controversial corruption decree

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  2. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  3. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  4. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  5. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  6. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  7. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  8. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  10. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  11. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  12. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year

Latest News

  1. Don't blame Trump for Europe's insecurity
  2. EU rules out post-Brexit 'hard border' with Northern Ireland
  3. Fewer EU pupils being taught two foreign languages
  4. Women and child refugees face abuse in French camp
  5. Russian military creates 'information force'
  6. Spain MPs to probe €60bn bank bailouts
  7. Crowded race to win EU medicines agency
  8. Fighting environmental injustice in Europe