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Culture and Creative in Europe

The Cultural and Creative Sector, as one of the fastest growing sectors in the EU, is an important components of the European Economy. Its successes over the last years were largely based on its ability to combine industrial methods with the innovative power of individual creativity. The Sector does not only connect intellectual and material capacities but also serves as a bedrock for our European identity, culture and values.

The consumer market is going through disruptive changes like digitalization: design, lifestyle and creativity are important forces that accelerate economic growth and offer huge potentials for future prosperity. The Cultural and Creative Sector makes up about 4% of the European Union’s GDP and provides about 7.6m jobs. This makes it one of the most important sectors of the European economy, while offering promising opportunities for a digital future and shaping the unique characteristics of European markets.

Success on the European Stage

Within the last legislative period (2014-2019) the European Union recognized the Cultural and Creative Sector as one of the most important economic sectors our modern economy. Creators and other people from the Sector have had their moments on the political stage, enhancing the ongoing dialogue between creativity and politics. This process is reflected in a variety of measures, strategy papers, legislative proposals and funding programs.

Since the publication of my initial report „on a coherent EU policy for cultural and creative industries” from 2016, we have established a clear definition of the Sector on a European level. This was an important step to ensure the recognition of the Sector as a coherent branch of industry rather than as a collection of separate activities. Based on this definition, the cooperation of a variety of initiatives established by cultural creators, and with the help of my colleagues within the European Parliament, we have created more projects in order to support the sector.

So far, we have established the Cultural and Creative Sector as an important aspect of the European industrial strategy and policy. The copyright reform, which was adopted in 2019, has improved the conditions for creatives as it obligates platforms, which are heavily based on the sharing of protected content, to respect the rights and monetary claims by creators. Companies have to license protected content in order to guarantee artists receive a fair compensation for their efforts.

Funding for the European Cultural and Creative Sector

The above-mentioned recognition of the Cultural and Creative Sector within the Union, has meant more funding became available for the Sector in all relevant funding programs.

The importance of the Cultural and Creative Sector has been underlined by the creation of a completely new cluster in the world’s largest research and innovation program “Horizon Europe”. Horizon Europe has a budget of €95.5bn, of which €2.4bn have been reserved for the new cluster “Culture, Creativity and inclusive society”. This cluster will fund a variety of initiatives which for example explore the usage of new textiles. Furthermore, it will provide funding for the establishment of a “Cultural Heritage Cloud” to increase cooperation between museums across Europe. This will digitalization of cultural heritage and cooperative research projects. The Cultural and Creative Sector is further mentioned for example in the Digital Cluster and the Security Cluster, which together have a budget of over €16 billion euros.


Furthermore, on the initiative of the European Peoples Party, a so called “Knowledge and Innovation Community” (KIC) for the Culture and Creative Industry will be established as part of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology. The main idea of the KICs is to increase cooperation between institutes of higher education (e.g., universities, fashion schools, etc.), research organizations and the commercial industries in order to answer societal challenges with new innovative products and services. The EIT has a budget of €3 billion euros, which is distributed across 10 different KICs.

As a response to the demands made by the European Parliament, the major funding instrument for the creative Industries “Creative Europe” has nearly doubled its budget. It now includes about €2.4 billion and aims at supporting the audiovisual, cultural and creative sector.

This far-reaching recognition of the Cultural and Creative Sector means that it has become one of the key aspects of European policy making.

Climate Protection, Sustainability and the Culture and Creative Industry

The importance of the sector has further been reflected in its inclusion into the European Green Deal. The sector itself has to further reduce its emissions, but it will also be an important enabler for the needed societal transformation.

The initiative “New European Bauhaus”, introduced by Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, has specifically called upon creators to turn the Green Deal into reality. These developments are crucial in order for society to accept urgently needed and fundamental change, and to further help citizens to integrate into climate protection programs. Artists enable the Green Deal, because culture and creativity serve as an encompassing European language, connecting the day-to-day life of millions of citizens and establishing Europe as our home.