Extra support for cinemas showing European films is one of the proposals in the Commission's ambitious Creative Europe proposal to boost the EU's creative and cultural sectors. Although MEPs welcomed the plans when the proposal was debated during a public hearing by the cultural committee on 26 April, they also agreed that it needs to be clearer and more specific. The creative sector is a key part of Europe's economy and accounts for 4.5% of the EU's GDP and 3.8% of employment.
About the Creative Europe proposal
The Creative Europe programme would merge EU cultural programmes such as Culture, MEDIA 2007 and MEDIA Mundus in order to support the creative and cultural sectors with €1.8 billion. Under the proposal 2,500 European cinemas would receive support enabling them to ensure that at least 50% of the films they show are European. More than 5,500 books and other literary works would receive support for translation to allow readers to enjoy them in their mother tongue. And 300,000 artists and cultural professionals would receive funding to reach new audiences beyond their home countries.
Need for details
MEPs on the Parliament's culture committee broadly welcomed the plans when they discussed it on 26 April, but they also called for the text to be more specific. Italian Social-Democrat Silvia Costa, who is responsible for steering the proposal through Parliament, commented: "It is a good signal that education, research and culture should receive more founding and that the Commission sees the value of cultural and creative industries. But the text is vague and merging the different programmes creates more confusion than positive results. We should propose separate programmes for the cultural industries, the media industries and the sector between the two."
German Christian-Democrat Doris Pack, chairwoman of the culture committee, equally deplored the lack of details. "We have extensive and good experience from previous programmes that we can use," she said. "But we need more specific and detailed information about the budget of the programme."
Importance of supporting the cultural sector
The French/Romanian film director Radu Mihaileanu told MEPs during the public hearing that it was vital for the EU to help out the creative and cultural sectors. "We need to increase the budget for culture. Culture helps to deal with the complexity of the world and benefits future generations as well. We should not forget that we're still a world leader in culture."