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A year on, associations urge EU to ‘save culture’

In an open letter to European leaders, more than 100 industry associations call for the creative industries to be put at the heart of post-pandemic economic planning

By IQ on 19 Mar 2021

The letter is addressed to European Council president Charles Michel

The letter is addressed to European Council president Charles Michel

image © European Union

No fewer than 110 music, entertainment and culture industry associations have written to the three presidents of the European Union to ask for financial support for the creative sector, which has been among the hardest hit by the impact of Covid-19.

A year on from the lockdowns of March 2020, the industry bodies – which include Yourope, the European Arenas Association, the Arena Resilience Alliance, De Concert!, Pearle, the European Festivals Association, IFPI, Live DMA and Trans Europe Halles – have called on both the EU and its individual member states to act now to secure the future of “cultural life in Europe”.

Central to the demands of the group, which also include associations representing TV producers, cinemas, fashion designers, book sellers and more, is a commitment by the EU to allocate at least 2% of its Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) – a €672.5 billion designed to kickstart European economies post-coronavirus – to the cultural sector, which they say is second only to aviation in the damage inflicted by the year-long shutdown, with some businesses’ turnover down almost 90%.

Their letter, which can be read here, is addressed to the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, and president of the European Council, Charles Michel, as well as the heads of state, heads of government and ministers for European affairs, finance and culture of the EU’s 27 member countries.

“We ask the member states to reactivate cultural life in Europe”

In addition to allocating at least 2% towards the cultural sector, the signatories ask that culture be designated a “priority sector” for RRF funds, and that member states involve industry representatives in implementing the RRF funding at a national level.

“We ask the member states to reactivate cultural life in Europe, while keeping existing, and putting in place new, dedicated support schemes far beyond the stabilisation of the situation,” the associations write. “This will help rebuild confidence of both cultural communities and citizens, ensure a smooth resumption of activities and offer hope to the millions of Europeans whose lives have become barren, devoid of cultural and social connection.”

The letter-writing campaign follows an earlier open letter, asking governments to ‘make culture central in the EU recovery’, published in November.

“Reinvigorating the cultural ecosystem not only offers hope to millions of workers who saw their jobs eradicated or endangered by the pandemic, it can offer new meaning and purpose to all Europeans and the European project,” the signatories conclude. “Let us put culture at the heart of Europe’s recovery.”


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