We know that the effects of the pandemic on the creative industry have been devastating, and this is probably an understatement.

What we perhaps don’t realise is that this is indeed a field in which we lead globally. We can and should be proud of it. This industry is very present in the life of our citizens and it will most certainly be a big part of their future. The cultural and creative sector will help Europe carve its role globally because it is after all a unique selling proposition for Europe.

The creative and cultural industry has always been a priority for the EPP Group. We defended and managed to have creative and cultural industry as a priority in the EU Funding Programme dedicated to Research and Innovation, called Horizon Europe.

Although the creative sector can also be seen as an enabler for digital new trends and features, it still remains our duty to help as much as we can the industry to adapt to digitalisation.

Along with the tourism industry, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has identified arts, entertainment and recreation as among the sectors most at risk due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the containment measures.

According to a recent report of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), by March 2020 the global film industry had already lost 7 billion dollars in income and was forecast to lose an estimated 160 billion over the next five years. In the music industry, a six-month shutdown could cost more than 10 billion dollars in sponsorships. Compared to 2019, the world book publishing market is expected to shrink by 7.5% in 2020 as a result of COVID-19. Newly-estimated figures point out that the drop in revenues for the cultural and creative sector was approximately one third of its value of 2019, facing a reduction of nearly €200 billion in turnover. This sector is therefore more affected than tourism or the automotive industry.

Against the backdrop of this colossal loss for this industry we call on EU governments to devote 2% of the EU and national Recovery Plans to the creative and cultural industry.

The situation is delicate and it is very important to ensure that these sectors receive the European support needed to provide them with the means to keep the ecosystem alive. By being productive, they contribute in making the economy more sustainable and societies more cohesive.

How does Europe support the Cultural and Creative Sector?

We do have a dedicated funding programme in this domain. It is called “Creative Europe”. Within it, there is the Guarantee Facility which widens the access to finance for Small and Medium Enterprises in the cultural and creative sectors in order to help them scale up and become more competitive.

Other European tools can be extremely powerful to ignite innovation into the value chain. There are different options available in Horizon Europe, the latest and most ambitious EU research and innovation framework programme. The new cluster supporting research and innovation in the creative industries will fund three strands of research in the coming two years (2021-2022): democracy and governance; European cultural heritage and the cultural and creative industries; and social and economic transformations. With its total budget of about €2.3 billion, it will strengthen the research and innovation power of the European creative landscape drastically.

Furthermore, last week we, the Parliament, agreed with the Portuguese Presidency representing the Council that next year (2022) a new partnership, a so-called “Knowledge and Innovation Community” on cultural and creative sectors and industries will be launched within the European Institute of Technology and Innovation. This will enhance cooperation between higher education, research and businesses in the industry in the innovation process to tackle societal challenges through the development of new products, services and processes.

There are also several other possible options through other programmes like Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, the Worth Partnership Project, the S+T+ARTS Initiative (Innovation at the nexus of Science, Technology, and the ARTS), and others.

But beyond funding opportunities, we should implement our own vision for the relaunch of this broad sector, especially in this transition to a more digitalised economy.

Dr. Christian Ehler MEP, Committee Coordinator
Maria da Graca Carvalho, MEP