Thursday

22nd Feb 2024

Artist groups fear impact of economic crisis

  • Artist groups worry about the effects of the economic crisis (Photo: Jessica McCann)

Public sector support for culture is being threatened by Europe’s current economic woes, says a pro-art advocacy network.

"We cannot but face the fact that we are in the midst of generalised crisis of extreme fragility," said Mercedes Biovinazzo, chair of Culture Action Europe (CAE), which represents thousands of pro-art groups across the continent, on Friday (9 November).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

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

... or subscribe as a group

Speaking at the opening of the two-day annual CAE conference in Brussels on the "sustainability of culture" in Europe, Biovinazzo said it is necessary to place art at the heart of the political debate.

"It is in times of crisis that we need to engage politically and with a high degree of responsibility," she noted.

The European Commission, for its part, has pledged to support art and culture in Europe to tune of €1.8 billion between 2014-2020.

EU president Jose Manuel Barroso, in a pre-recorded video message delivered at the conference, said globalisation, the fragmentation of markets, and squeezed finances has placed additional pressure on culture.

"We want to encourage all levels of policy governance, local, regional, national and European level to develop integrated policies in the cultural and creative sectors," said Barroso.

The commission says its aim is to support artists, cultural professionals and cultural organisations across the EU.

"We want to ensure their work reaches as many people as possible," noted Barroso.

He also said the sectors are "an engine for growth, smart, inclusive, [and] sustainable growth." Culture represents up to 4.5 percent of the EU's total GDP and employs between 7 and 8.5 million people, says the commission.

Some of the conference participants took a different approach to the commission's economic angle on culture.

"Culture has a proven economic dimension, it generates income and employment as Mr Barroso pointed out. But it is not an instrument for economic growth," said Chris Torch of Intercult, a Swedish-based group that collaborates and networks with other culture-led projects throughout Europe.

"Culture raises questions, it disturbs us and requires a response ... it animates debates and challenges prejudice and all this is linked to peace-making, human development and individual freedom," he added.

Meanwhile, the commission noted a certain backlash when it comes to its support of culture.

Xavier Troussard of the commission's education and culture division, spoke of how some EU-based culture organisations refrain from making public the money they receive from EU funds.

He also noted that Europe's culture sector, represented by the CAE and the several dozen groups gathered at the conference, have not fully connected with the public.

"I'm not sure you are perceived in society as agents of change or agents of innovation because you have not demonstrated your own capacity to innovate in your own sector," said Troussard.

Troussard said the commission was ready to help the sector in making their value and importance more visible at the EU-level but warned that any changes "in policy making will have to be backed by a strong sense of evidence."

New EU social security coordination rules hit a dead end

The clock is ticking and MEPs want to agree new rules to update the EU's social security coordination, but the file has been left unfinished under 12 EU presidencies — and the Belgian presidency won't be the exception.

EU's first gender-based violence law a 'big disappointment'

The EU has adopted a provisional agreement on a directive to combat violence against women, the first-ever EU rules to fight gender based violence. But it does not include rape as 'sex without consent', or a ban on forced sterilisation.

Opinion

EU plan to let 17-year olds drive trucks is crazy

It's an astonishing proposition rooted in political interest rather than facts, with potentially dire consequences for all road users — especially for people who walk and cycle, warns the European Cycling Federation.

EU deal on new gig-workers rules unlikely before June elections

Another provisional agreement on improving working conditions for platform workers fall apart on Friday, as four member states decided not to support it — making the chances of a directive before the June European elections unlikely.

Latest News

  1. EU auditors: rule-of-law budget protections only partial success
  2. EU's €723bn Covid recovery fund saw growth, but doubts remain
  3. Von der Leyen rejects extremist parties, leaves door open to ECR
  4. Russian oligarchs failed to get off EU blacklist
  5. Podcast: Navalny, Ian Bremmer and "more Europe"
  6. Only Palestinians paying thousands of dollars leave Gaza
  7. Ukraine refugees want to return home — but how?
  8. African leaders unveil continent-wide plan to buy medicines

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us