Tuesday

23rd Jan 2018

Focus

Creative sector 'forgotten and marginalised' by the EU

  • Cultural industries, such as the film industry, play an important economic role in the EU (Photo: European Commission)

The European Commission is ignoring the economic potential of cultural issues, focusing too much on standard industry policies and not enough on creative industries, say experts.

According to a report by the Brussels-based consultancy KEA, which specialises in creative rights, cultural industries - like the music, film and game industries - and creative industries - like design and architecture - contributed an estimated 2.6 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the EU in 2003.

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In the same year, culture was also of the main attractors of tourism - and the tourism sector represents an additional 5.5% of GDP.

Philippe Kern, managing director of KEA, says that "while innovation is a policy darling – policy makers can set targets and objectives - creativity is forgotten and marginalised from a EU policy point of view."

"Give creativity the same political profile as innovation. Raise the profile of the creativity sector," he told an audience of members of the European Parliament's culture committee on Tuesday (20 November).

The KEA study says that the culture and creativity sectors had a estimated turnover of € 654 billion in 2003, more than twice as much as the European car industry, and employed about six million people.

In addition, they outperform the rest of the economy, growing 12.3% faster than the overall economy between 1999-2003.

But the creative sector only received 1.1 billion euro in funding from the EU, much less than the €56.6 billion spent by the EU on innovation, or the 308 billion made available for structural development.

According to Mr Kern, the composition of the cultural industry – mostly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – and the lack of statistical data available about the industry make it difficult for policy makers to realise the true importance of the sector.

To increase the economic gains from culture, Mr Kern recommended improving the financial capabilities of these SMEs and supporting entrepreneurs in developing new business models adapted to internet.

In addition, he said statistical information on the creative sector should be gathered while cultural goods should be an integral part of trade agreement negotiations.

Mr Kern was backed up by several other speakers in the committee which was discussing the overall theme of the relationship the internal market and cultural issues.

Mr Yannick Guin, deputy mayor of Nantes said that "cultural industries are not a luxury or an accessory, but they are at the heart of development."

Meanwhile, Guy Bono, French socialist MEP, underlined that "culture needs economy and economy needs culture."

The discussion fits into a general debate in the EU at the moment, prompted by the reigning pro-market commission, about the extent to whether cultural issues should be exempted from internal market rules

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