Saturday

6th Jun 2020

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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. Poland accused of 'blatant violation' of EU court injunction
  2. EU concerned by US approach to Kosovo and Serbia
  3. City morgues cast doubt on Putin's virus data
  4. ECB increases pandemic stimulus to €1.35 trillion
  5. New EU cloud computing platform 'moonshot'
  6. City of Berlin passes anti-discrimination law
  7. Iran hits record corona cases in second wave
  8. EU job losses tell tale of pandemic damage

EU warns UK to abide by Brexit political declaration

"No significant progress" has been made on the latest round of talks between the UK and EU on how their relationship should look from January, according to Michel Barnier. The EU told UK to stick to its prior commitments.

Green Deal

CAP 'failed to halt biodiversity loss', auditors find

The European Court of Auditors has urged the European Commission to establish measurable commitments to tackle biodiversity loss caused by intensive farming - as the Common Agriculture Policy has so far failed to reverse this long-standing issue.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  3. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  5. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition

Latest News

  1. EU warns UK to abide by Brexit political declaration
  2. Internal EU borders open by 15 June - bar V4, Portugal, Spain
  3. CAP 'failed to halt biodiversity loss', auditors find
  4. After Covid-19, deserted Venice struggles to survive
  5. Commission plans strategy to 'maximise' vaccine access
  6. How spies use women to steal EU secrets
  7. Hong Kong - when the Chinese Dream became a nightmare
  8. Right of reply: Letter from the Hungarian government

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us