Tuesday

10th Dec 2019

Focus

Culture sector an "untapped" resource, says commission

  • Europe's culture sector is an "untapped resource" (Photo: Helena Spongenberg)

The creative industries and culture sector are a “largely untapped resource” in the European economy, according to a paper released on Wednesday (26 September) by the European Commission.

“The contribution that cultural and creative sectors can bring to social and economic development in the EU is still not fully recognised," says the paper.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

The cultural and creative sectors employ up to 8.5m people and generate between 3.3 percent and 4.5 percent of the bloc's GDP.

Meanwhile, figures from the EU's statistics agency Eurostat have indicated that the job market in the creative industries have been far more resilient than across the EU as a whole, particularly for 16-25 year olds, the age group with the highest unemployment rate.

Despite this, the sector faces a number of challenges, chiefly, adapting to a digitised economy and difficulty accessing financial support.

The EU is attempting a series of reforms to the digital economy with the Commission-backed Europeana project providing a single on-line platform to access books, museums and archives. Meanwhile, Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier unveiled the long-awaited directive on collective copyright management in July and draft rules on private copying are also expected imminently.

Launching the paper, EU Culture Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said that the continent's culture and creative sectors were “not only essential for cultural diversity; they also contribute a great deal to social and economic development in our member states and regions.” She added that the sectors projected a “dynamic image of an attractive and creative Europe.”

Ministers and MEPs are currently discussing the Commission's ambitious Creative Europe which aims to increase EU culture spending to €1.8 billion in the next seven year budget cycle starting in 2014, an increase of 37 percent.

The centre-piece in the proposal is a dedicated EU financial facility which would see €210m from the EU budget leveraged to create a €1bn fund to provide easy access to bank loans for small businesses in the culture sector.

The commission strategy comes against the backdrop of spending cuts on culture and the arts across most member states.

However, with a group of member states, led by Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, anxious to freeze any increases in EU spending and hostile towards the facility, parliament sources on the Culture committee have indicated that either the budget hike or financial facility will have to be sacrificed to reach agreement on the programme.

Art to protest politics in Spanish town

In early 2012, Pablo Lag stood in front of an abandoned, half-constructed house in Alicante and kicked in the door. Inside, he began work on an art exhibition “to make people in the world know what is happening in Spain.”

Culture: 'A new wind is blowing in Europe'

Faced with falling ticket sales, cultural institutions in Europe should be looking both for ways to reach new audiences and keep existing audiences on board, according to the European Commission.

Culture in Europe

For cash-strapped EU member states, spending on culture is not a priority. Yet the sector drives economic growth and employs millions of people across the European Union. EUobserver looks at the issues.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs: Finnish budget proposal 'impossible to implement'
  2. EP committee supports 'Future of EU Conference'
  3. EU survey: climate change must be parliament's priority
  4. Zahradil resigns as rapporteur on EU-Vietnam trade deal
  5. Russia plans 'Arctic Air Defence" with S-400 missiles
  6. Belgium: King does another round of consultations
  7. Thousands protest Orban's theatre clampdown
  8. Russia and Ukraine agree ceasefire by new year

Exclusive

Zahradil 'conflict of interest' over EU-Vietnam trade deal

Right-wing Czech MEP Jan Zahradil is leading European Parliament negotiations on a trade deal with Vietnam. As rapporteur, he is supposed to be neutral but has neglected to declare his involvement in a group with ties to the Communist party.

Investigation

Data watchdog raps EU asylum body for snooping

The European Asylum Support Office combed through social media to monitor refugee routes to Europe for three years. The agency sent weekly reports on its findings to member states, the EU Commission and institutions such as UNHCR and Interpol.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us