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Guidelines published for safe reopening in Europe

The European Commission has published new guidelines to enable the safe restart of cultural and creative activities across the EU.

The guidelines, presented yesterday (29 June) by the EC’s vice-president for ‘promoting our European way of life’, Margaritis Schinas, and the commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth, Mariya Gabriel, aim to “provide a coordinated approach in line with the specific national, regional and local conditions” in individual member states as the epidemiological situation increases across the European Union, says the EC.

“Culture helped people cope with the impacts of lockdowns and social distancing. It is now our turn to accompany the sectors in their path to reopening,” says Schinas (pictured). “We need coordinated and tailor-made efforts across the EU to allow the culture world to safely and gradually resume its activities and be more prepared for future crises.

“The cultural and creative sectors are strong European assets and are important for Europe’s sustainable recovery, increased resilience of European society and, more generally, our European way of life.”

“We need coordinated and tailor-made efforts across the EU to allow the culture world to safely and gradually resume its activities”

The EU guidelines, developed by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in partnership with the EU Health Security Committee, recommend the following:

EU member states, says the commission, are now invited to “take full advantage” of the bloc’s Recovery and Resilience Facility to invest in their national cultural sectors as the pandemic nears its end. Through Creative Europe (€2.5bn) and Horizon Europe (€2bn) nearly €4.5 billion is being made available for “cultural, creative and inclusive projects” from 2021 to 2027.

“The aim of these guidelines is to facilitate coordination of member states’ measures at EU level”

“The cultural and creative industries and sectors have paid a heavy toll since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. At the same time, the crisis highlighted their importance for our society and economy,” comments Gabriel. “With the increased vaccine uptake, gradual lifting of restrictions, including in the field of culture, is taking place. The aim of these guidelines is to facilitate coordination of member states’ measures at EU level.

“Simultaneously, a safe reopening of cultural settings should go hand in hand with a range of actions to ensure the sustainable recovery and resilience of the entire sector.”

Welcoming the guidelines, Pearle* (Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe) says attention to also be paid to the various successful test events in EU countries, which have proven that reopening at full capacity is possible with measures such as mass testing.

The Brussels-based federation also approves of the commissioners’ “presentation of funding lines”, underlining “that appropriate support packages are needed to revive the sector and recover from more than a year and a half of lost income,” says a Pearle* spokesperson. “The signal of the [European Commission] to put in place dedicated European funds need to be complemented with member state support, also at regional and local level,” they emphasise.


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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

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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European Union plots bloc-wide vaccine passport

An EU-wide vaccine passport which could replace the piecemeal approach currently being pursued by individual member states, will be put forward this Wednesday (17 March).

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission has previously said it would be possible to develop an Israeli-style ‘green pass’ within about three months using data from EU citizens who have been vaccinated, tested negative or are immune to Covid-19.

So-called vaccine passports are already being developed, or are under consideration, in a number of European Union countries, including Sweden, Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic and Cyprus.

Ylva Johansson (pictured), the EU’s commissioner for internal affairs, confirmed to Euronews on Friday (12 March) that Europeans who have been inoculated with one of four approved coronavirus vaccines would be eligible for the passports, in a scheme that could pave the way to the resumption of cross-border touring.

Europeans who have been inoculated with one of four approved coronavirus vaccines would be eligible for the passports

The four vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson jabs; other vaccines, such as Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s Sinopharm, would be excluded pending EMA authorisation.

Speaking to privacy concerns over the planned ‘passport’, an EU source tells Euronews use of the green pass – available digitally or as a printed certificate – would be limited to the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Israel, green passes, issued to citizens after their second and final Covid-19 jab, are enabling the return of concerts, with up to 1,500 people now allowed at outdoor shows.


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Music contributes to our European identity

We are all too aware how severely this unprecedented crisis has affected the cultural and creative sectors, in particular the world of music. It was heartbreaking to see clubs and concert halls forced to shut down, leaving the artists and those supporting them without any income.

This happened at a time when, due to the changing patterns of music consumption, live acts and concerts had become one of the most important income sources for music performers.

My priority was to act quickly, within my remit, to help the cultural and creative sector including the music sector. Over the last eight or nine months, we have seen, on the one hand, the sector’s extraordinary capacity to mobilise and be creative at all levels, but on the other, the need for resources, targeted investment, and greater support in such critical moments.

Indeed, it was to music that we turned to keep our spirits up; music has helped us maintain a sense of community at a time when social distancing became the norm. I take this opportunity to thank all the professionals from the music industry for what they gave us.

Music has helped us maintain a sense of community at a time when social distancing became the norm

For this reason, there are strong calls for Member States to dedicate at least 2% of national recovery and resilience facility budgets to culture. This would come in addition to other horizontal measures that we introduced to kickstart the economy, which are also beneficial for the cultural and creative sectors. We have promoted these measures and encouraged our partners in the cultural sectors to tap into the possibilities these actions provide.

Let me highlight some examples of our recent initiatives to help the cultural sector and music in particular. First, we provided maximum flexibility to the beneficiaries of Creative Europe, the EU funding programme for the cultural and creative sectors, and allowed them to adjust their projects to the new realities.

We also accelerated the selection process for this year’s Creative Europe co-operation projects. This means in practical terms that €48.5 million is going directly to both small and large cultural projects that need our support the most in the middle of the pandemic.

In May, we launched the Creatives Unite platform to offer a common space for all cultural and creative sectors in Europe and beyond to share their initiatives in response to the crisis. Six months later, it has demonstrated great results, with over 26,000 visitors and 600 published posts. This illustrates the cultural and creative sectors’ tremendous capacity to work together.

Second, we came up with quick responses to address the challenges faced by the music sector under our Music Moves Europe initiative. A €2.5m call for proposals, which closed in November, will help support the sector’s recovery and sustainability post crisis.

Environmental, economic and social sustainability of the European music ecosystem is more topical than ever before

Environmental, economic and social sustainability of the European music ecosystem is indeed more topical than ever before. We can expect that the post-crisis revival will bring and require structural changes in the way the music ecosystem is operating, and we will be there to support the green, digital, just and social recovery of the sector.

We also launched a call for tenders to support European music export, taking into account the specific circumstances of the crisis. The call builds on the study prepared by the European Music Export Exchange with our financial support. Here, again, I would like to congratulate the music sector, which has been, from the very beginning, part of the solution, with the Music Declares Emergency initiative using the power of music to promote the cultural change needed to create a better future.

Music Moves Europe is also about music information and data. We have just published two studies on the feasibility of establishing a European music observatory, and an in-depth analysis of the European music market. We also launched four calls this year to support professionalisation, music education, co-operation of small music clubs, and co-creation and co-production schemes.

The selected projects can start early next year. In difficult times, these small amounts can make a great difference and can help clubs, creators, and performers resume their activities and survive the crisis.

Finally, let me stress the importance of the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards co-funded by our Creative Europe programme. This EU prize for popular and contemporary music puts a spotlight on young exciting talent and displays Europe’s vibrant and diverse music scene. It is even more important this year to help these young musicians find an audience. The winners of the 2021 edition will be announced on 15 January 2021 at Eurosonic.

Music is our universal language. It holds a unique, creative, and cohesive power, for societies and for individuals

With Music Moves Europe, we will continue our support to the music sector, especially with targeted funding through the Creative Europe programme. I am very proud that we achieved a significant increase in the budget for the next seven years, this will allow us to continue our support to culture, including music, in the future.

Looking forward, beyond Creative Europe, the music sector will also benefit from further support through other instruments. For instance, via Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation framework programme, which will have, for the first time, a dedicated cluster on culture, creativity and society, as well as a new Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) on cultural and creative sectors and industries to drive innovation and support recovery in these industries.

Erasmus+ is another example. Recently we launched a Special Call worth €100m for Partnerships for Creativity, which focus on formal, informal and non-formal educational skills development and inclusion through creativity and the arts. My aim therefore will be to work on synergies among all these different instruments.

Music is our universal language. It holds a unique, creative, and cohesive power, for societies and for individuals. It is a vital part of our cultural heritage, and contributes to our European identity. For all the reasons we will continue to support the sector, and the people behind it. I look forward to working and strengthening our dialogue with the music sector.


Mariya Gabriel is the European commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth.

#WeAreLive: Umbrella group petitions EU for help

#WeAreLive, a coalition of event industry associations in more than a dozen northern European countries, has lodged a petition with the European Parliament to ask for “urgent measures” to save millions of jobs continent-wide.

The organisation – whose membership comprises industry associations in Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Croatia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Russia – is demanding grants equivalent to 75% of companies’ fixed costs, along with the extension of existing loans, the suspension of existing EU aid framework (whose limitations, #WeAreLive says, prevent “real help for hard-hit” companies) and for EU officials to enter into real “rescue dialogue” with the events sector.

With members including the International Live Events Association Europe (Germany), Polish Event Industry Association, Sponsorship and Event Association (Norway) and Event Industry Association of Lithuania, #WeAreLive represents over 20,000 companies with more than 500,000 employees and 200,000 apprentices.

In total, the organisation says, the events sector is the 13th largest industry in Europe, generating €172.6 billion in direct GDP and supporting 2.9 million jobs.

“Governments should be looking for drivers like events to grow the economy”

In the petition, the full text of which can be read here, the associations say the live events sector must “be recognised by national and regional governments for its value now, and not in hindsight, after we are beyond saving from the outcome of Covid-19”.

“At times like this, when the recovery is so critical to our organisations, our society and our economy overall, the power of events is something that can be central in reaching this goal,” it continues. “Governments should be looking for drivers like this that grow the economy.”

The petition further urges that events is treated as an industry in its own right, rather than bundled in with culture, tourism or foreign affairs. “This [current] disunity condemns us to the lack of common solutions, help and strategies for the development of the industry at an European level,” it reads.

Dolors Montserrat, chair of the EU’s committee, has already confirmed the #WeAreLive petition is “admissible” and will be considered by the European Commission on a preliminary basis. However, it needs 200,000 signatures by EU citizens to ensure it is accepted by and debated in the European Parliament.

To sign the petition now, click here.


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47% decrease in new artists touring Europe

The number of new artists touring Europe has fallen by nearly 50% in 2019–20, according to a new report that illustrates the impact of ongoing venue closures on emerging acts.

Research by Liveurope, an EU-backed association of 16 music venues, shows a 47% decrease in new acts touring in Europe compared to 2018–19. According to the organisation, which is calling for more aid at a European level, “the circulation of European artists, in particular emerging ones, can only return to pre-crisis levels if ambitious and targeted EU support is deployed.”

“After months of closure, our venues are faced with substantial economic losses and extended temporary lay-offs,” says Liveurope coordinator Elise Phamgia.“In this context, the safety net that our platform provides to them will be all the more crucial to help them continue bringing the diversity of European music to their audiences.

“After months of closure, our venues are faced with substantial economic losses”

“Scaling up the [funding] envelopes allocated to initiatives like ours would allow us to continue our mission, and support a greater number of music venues across the continent in their efforts to strengthen the European dimension of their line-ups.”

Liveurope members include Brussels arena Ancienne Belgique, Luxembourg’s Rockhal, Melkweg in Amsterdam and London’s Village Underground.

A recent report by the European Commission recommends an increase in the amount of funding for initiatives such as Liveurope in the upcoming EU budget.


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EU urged to support live in recovery planning

Brussels-based industry body Pearle* has called for the live industry to be included as a “priority sector” in the European Union (EU)’s post-pandemic recovery package.

In a position paper entitled Give Live Performance a Future, Pearle* (Performing Arts Employers Association League Europe), which represents more than 10,000 venues, theatres, festivals and other ‘live performance’ organisations, calls for support for “a sector on the verge of collapse […], and for which a comprehensive recovery package is needed.”

Quoting European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, who said last month that “this is definitely not the time to withdraw support” for member states’ economies, Pearle* suggests the EU back “targeted support” for live entertainment businesses, as well as introducing other continent-wide initiatives such as lowering VAT on tickets and taxation on artists crossing borders.

In its introduction to the paper, Pearle* describes the situation heading into the autumn as one of “reduced income in ticket sales, fewer performances, less (or no) income from bar sales, sponsorship contracts on hold, much less touring in Europe and nearly no touring outside Europe, reduced size of productions, (very) short-term planning, less freelance work needed [and] less extra services needed.”

“There are a wide range of possibilities for governments to help the sector in its recovery”

Combined, these factors put “real pressure on the preservation of cultural diversity, which is rooted in the European Treaty,” the organisation adds.

The latest proposal by the European Parliament is €39 billion for “flagship programmes” – of which culture is one – in the next budget, though this must still be agreed with the European Council leadership. (Other flagship spending includes health, digital, security and the ‘Green Deal’.)

Anita Debaere, director of Pearle*, says the recovery plan for live should be “built on three main pillars: survive, invest and resilience.”

“There are a wide range of possibilities that governments can use to help the sector in its recovery in the coming years, so there is no excuse to ignore the needs of live performance,” she comments.


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Hauliers push back against proposed European regs

European live industry association Pearle* has urged the EC to rethink plans to force hauliers, along with their trucks, to return to their country of origin every two weeks, saying the proposals could “heavily impact live shows”.

As part of a revision of EU regulations 561/2006 and 1071/2009, the European Commission (EC) is considering making it mandatory for drivers to return home every fortnight, and requiring their vehicles to also be sent back to base – “something that would prove problematic for transport companies carrying gear on longer tours”, according to a spokesperson for the Netherlands’ Pieter Smit Group.

Responding to the proposals, Pearle* (Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe), which represents more than 7,000 live music and performing arts organisations across Europe, calls on European lawmakers to “to consider the specificities of our industry when amending such rules”.

“Most artists aren’t on the roads for more than a few days or a couple weeks. But the logistics of longer tours – for example in the pop music sector – are much more complex due to tight schedules and the need to carry high-value, fragile equipment, be it audio gear, musical instruments or stage decor,” reads a statement from Pearle*. “Against this backdrop, it is in the interest of both artists and their promoters to be able to rely on one trustworthy service provider who is familiar with the processes in order to minimise interface costs and to keep up with demanding schedules over the whole duration of a tour.

“Requiring drivers and vehicles to return to [their home country] in the middle of a tour would prove very disruptive”

“On long tours, service providers – including drivers – are essentially part of the crew. They have the possibility to eat, rest and live with other tour staff and artists, and can use the facilities available at the show venues, which are much higher standard than most facilities used by the general haulage industry. They also have the option to spend their free time in hotels in the vicinity of show venues.”

The new proposals, says Pearle*, “are compromising this model – not necessarily for a majority of shows for which performers are not on the roads for a very long time, but would be critical for a number of bigger, longer tours. Requiring drivers and vehicles to return to the establishment country of the transport service provider in the middle of a show would prove very disruptive.”

The association proposes an exemption for hauliers working in the live entertainment sector, to allow them to stay with tours for their entire duration, like other crew.

“We call on decision-makers to consider the specific needs of our industry, and to align the regime of logistics and transport providers who serve us with the one of our other providers, who stay with the artists for the whole duration of a tour,” it concludes. “This can be achieved through a targeted exemption – only from the ‘return home’ rule – that would specifically apply to touring companies.”


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GDPR: Everything you need to know

Everyone, from Blondie to the Kinks and from Beastie Boys to Pearl Jam, has sung about the importance of privacy. From 25 May 2018, the way the live music industry handles the personal information of its European fans, artists and employees is set for a shake-up as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is introduced across Europe.

So, what is the GDPR?
The last European data protection law was introduced back in 1995. Since then, much has changed in terms of both the personal information we generate and share, and what we all perceive our rights over that data to be.

The new law provides enhanced rights to individuals to control how their data is handled, and puts greater regulatory scrutiny on companies who mistreat the data entrusted to them.

Who will it affect?
The law will apply to all companies processing the data of European citizens (be they fans, customers, artists, employees or partners), irrespective of whether the company processing the data is inside Europe, or located globally.

What might this cost me if I get it wrong?
Fines can be up to 4% of group annual turnover (or €20 million, whichever is higher).

Other impacts of non-compliance include the power for regulators to suspend a company’s processing activities subject to investigation and the ability for consumers to band together and bring class actions.

However, many companies are viewing the (i) potential brand damage, (ii) loss of customer trust, and (iii) diminishing investor return where personal information is mistreated, as potentially far more significant than the monetary penalties.

Is there any upside to this for me?
Many organisations have found that being upfront and transparent with customers about the data that is held on them and how it is used builds trust and often results in them sharing increasing amounts of information. This creates the opportunity to connect with fans and customers in an increasingly personalised way. Managed well, this could both lower the cost of acquiring and servicing them as well as increasing satisfaction.

“This creates the opportunity to connect with fans and customers in an increasingly personalised way”

Ok, maybe I should be doing something about this – where should I start?
First things first: get familiar with the law and nominate someone in your organisation to lead your company through the new requirements. You might need to appoint a data protection officer. Knowing both the relevant privacy laws and how to apply them to business processes is a considerable challenge. Having an appropriately skilled and qualified person in place is a must, and can repay any costs many times over by focussing any additional work only where it is absolutely necessary, whilst making sure full advantage is taken of the opportunity to engage more deeply with customers and fans.

Knowing what you need to do to comply with GDPR starts with having a proper grip on (i) what personal data you have, (ii) why you have it, (iii) what you use it for, (iv) where it is used and stored, and (v) what rights (consent) you have to hold and use it.

For example, you’ll be relying on consent to market to fans: where is that consent coming from? Do you collect it directly from the fan, or does another company collect it for you? Under GDPR, pre-ticked marketing opt-ins will be a thing of the past. The entity for whom consent is being given will also need to be named (e.g. generic “event partner” opt-ins will no longer be permissible). If you rely on others to collect marketing consent on your behalf, you should ensure they meet the new requirements.

Citizens will also have powerful new rights, including the ability to:
• Access and make corrections to any of the data you hold on them
• Request a copy of all of the data you hold on them, in a form that they can easily pass to others
• Request that you delete all of their data
• Opt-out of some or all processing or profiling (eg marketing segmentation).

You must be ready to respond quickly should they choose to exercise these rights.


Hannah and Giles are chairing a GDPR session on 7 March 2018 at ILMC 30.

European assocs rally in support of Music Moves Europe

A who’s who of European music industry associations, including Yourope, Live DMA, Italy’s Assomusica and the newly formed Innovation Network of European Showcases, have voiced their support for Music Moves Europe, a European Parliament-backed pilot project that aims to win monetary support for a “dedicated EU music programme” in the European Union’s next funding round.

A total of 29 industry groups gathered in Brussels last week for the launch of Music Moves Europe, which has been allocated an initial budget of €1.5 million to begin the “preparatory phases for a specific law on music”, similar to the EU’s existing audiovisual guidelines, according to EU agency EURICCA.

“The European Union is focusing on music and culture, and this is where we must step in, along with the major European music associations,” says Assomusica head Vincenzo Spera, while Jens Michow, of German promoters’ association BDV, adds the pilot is the “first step towards creating a promotional programme tailored to the needs of the music industry”.

In an open letter, representatives of the 29 associations urge European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to support the introduction of a full-scale European music project after the Music Moves Europe pilot ends in 2020.

“The music sector in Europe is very dynamic and an important contributor to jobs and growth, accounting for 1m jobs and over €25bn in turnover,” it reads. “Europe is home to some of the best composers, artists, music groups, concert halls, clubs, festivals, labels, publishers, producers, engineers, streaming services, music schools, radios, etc., covering all music genres and styles. And millions of Europeans are also actively making music, be it as amateurs or professionals.

“Let’s give ourselves the means to make this one of the EU’s great success stories”

“The sector is vibrant and eager to grow, but it also faces significant challenges.

“The music ecosystem must continue to shape and adapt to a fast-changing environment. The ways we listen, record, distribute and play music are constantly evolving. With these changes comes the need to update our tools and skills. All this costs time and money.

“And of course, one of the most crucial challenges is meeting European citizens’ appetite for culture and diversity, as part of their cultural rights. It is important to ensure that the widest diversity of European music can circulate and reach its audience, and that Europe’s artists and citizens are encouraged to fully express their creative freedom.

“This preparatory action is designed to be a first step towards filling a gap in today’s EU cultural policy. The next step is a tailor-made EU music programme with a budget which is proportionate to its economic, social and cultural contribution.

“Among other things, a fully-fledged music programme would help trigger more investment in the sector, boost diversity and increase the mobility of artists and repertoire across borders.

“Let’s give ourselves the means to make this one of the EU’s great success stories.”


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