Monday

5th Dec 2016

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."

Analysis

Austrian far-right: beaten, but not defeated

Far-right candidate Norbert Hofer's loss to Green-backed Alexander Van der Bellen sent relief across Europe, but his party is still in a good position to head a government in the future.

News in Brief

  1. Idea of road transport agency gains momentum among MEPs
  2. EU dismisses euro crisis risk after Italian referendum
  3. Italy result poses no risk to the EU, Sapin says
  4. EU asked to clarify links to Iran executions
  5. Italian economy minister tipped as caretaker PM
  6. EU tells US tech giants to act faster against hate speech
  7. Iceland's Pirates in bid to form government
  8. Danes are the happiest workers, study says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  2. CESICESI Congress Focuses on Future of Work, Public Services and Digitalisation
  3. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  4. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  5. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  6. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  7. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  8. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  9. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  10. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Transport and Mobility in Rome
  11. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  12. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)