The EU needs to protect Europe’s cultural and creative sector and harness its power

On 28 November, the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) will vote on an important report on improving the conditions for artists in Europe. The unstable conditions of artists and cultural workers have come in sharp focus during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, and the EU institutions are now debating and legislating how best to help the sector.

The European Parliament adopted a report calling for an EU framework for the social and professional situation of artists and workers in the cultural and creative sectors on 21 November. This includes a directive on decent working conditions and the correct determinations of the employment status of professionals in the cultural and creative sectors; Council decisions to work towards EU standards in the sector; and adapting the next cycle of EU programmes to oblige the EU and recipients to comply with International Labour Organization, EU, national or collective labour and social obligations.

The Council of the European Union adopted the first-ever set of conclusions on enhancing the cultural and creative dimension of the European video games sector on 24 November. The Council recognises the significant potential of the video game industry in conveying cultural content and underscores the importance of the diversity found in European creation, heritage, and history.

The Ministers of Culture of the European Union also adopted the Cáceres declaration at the informal meeting held in Cáceres on September 25 and 26, within the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU. The text is “a commitment to prioritising culture within the European project and across public policies”, recognising it as “an essential public good” at the highest political level. The declaration also calls for the inclusion of culture in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Cáceres Declaration follows the Porto Santo Charter, a 2021 initiative by the Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council that advocated for a cultural citizenship that promotes democracy.

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European Movement International’s Position  

In our policy position on the unifying role of culture and cultural heritage in European integration, we put forward a set of recommendations to effectively wield the socio-economic power behind the cultural and creative industries for fostering a sense of belonging and togetherness and advancing Europe’s shared values, identity, and prosperity.

To fully realise the potential of creative and innovative contributions of the cultural sector to the green, social and digital transformation of European society, the EU should establish common and ambitious standards for quality working conditions for artists and cultural workers across Europe. In order to promote more favourable ecosystems for authors, performers and creators, the EU should implement high standards of intellectual property rights, facilitate access to finance and cross-sectoral cooperation and address, via strong legislation, the “buy-out” practices exercised by the biggest non-EU Video on Demand (VOD) platforms which deprive European authors and composers of fair remuneration.

Likewise, gender-equal cultural policy should aim to increase representation, eliminate the gender pay gap, address unpaid work, support women-led cultural and cultural heritage projects and promote gender equality in cultural and cultural heritage content.

Furthermore, creators’ organisations should be closely involved in the EU decision-making process impacting their sector. To this end, the role of collective management organisations (CMOs) should be further recognised and strengthened with a sound legal framework.



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