REPORT on the implementation of the Creative Europe Programme 2021-2027

8.12.2023 - (2023/2003(INI))

Committee on Culture and Education
Rapporteur: Massimiliano Smeriglio

Procedure : 2023/2003(INI)
Document stages in plenary
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1. Introduction

The objectives of the Implementation Report of the Creative Europe programme 2021-2027 are to assess and evaluate the implementation of the Regulation (EU) 2021/818 establishing the Creative Europe programme (2021 to 2027)[1], which came into force on 1 January 2021. Based on the available data, this Report assesses the years 2021 and 2022. Additionally, of note is the requirement that pursuant to Article 21 of the Regulation, no later than 31 December 2024, the Commission shall carry out an interim evaluation of the programme and submit an evaluation report to the European Parliament, no later than six months after the interim evaluation has been carried out.

Creative Europe is the European Union’s direct fund providing support to the cultural and creative sectors[2] (CCS), which all have intrinsic cultural and social value and display significant economic weight by contributing to both direct and indirect employment and economic growth. Against this background, support is vital to protect cultural diversity and to strengthen competitiveness. It is important that the Creative Europe programme, therefore, tackles the challenges facing these sectors, amplified by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

The new programme retains the structure of the previous one and comprises three strands: Media, which covers the audiovisual sector; Culture covering all the cultural and creative sectors except the audiovisual sector; and Cross-sectoral, which combines actions across all cultural and creative sectors, including news media, as well as support for Creative Europe desks. The three strands account respectively for 58%, 33% and 9% of the financial envelope of the Creative Europe programme. The structure of this report unfolds around three pillars, reflecting the structure of the programme.

The European Commission, as the institution responsible for the implementation of the policy aspects of the programme, has assigned functions to the following bodies to carry out its implementation:

 Directorate-General Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC) manages the Culture strand of the programme;

 Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CNECT) manages the Media strand of the programme;

 Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) coordinates and leads on the implementation of the Invest EU, in close cooperation with the relevant Policy Directorates-General and in the case of Media Invest with DG CNECT;

 Directorate General for Communication (DG COMM) handles the overall communication of the programme;

 European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) is responsible for the direct management of the programme, under the Commission’s political responsibility[3]; and

 Creative Europe Committee, set up in 2011, assists and supports the European Commission. Additionally, this Committee provides an opinion on the Commission’s Annual Work programme, under Regulation 182/2011.

A network of Creative Europe desks act as advisory bodies. Their mission is to promote the programme, provide information and guidance to potential applicants as well as to foster cross-border cooperation and ensure proper dissemination of funding awarded and results obtained in each of the respective countries. So far, 40 desks have been established and, from June 2023, the programme fully finances the Creative Europe Desk in Ukraine[4].

In drafting the current report, the Rapporteur availed of the findings from meetings with DG EAC and DG CNECT, as well as wide consultations and meetings with stakeholders and national desks. Information gathered from a Shadow Rapporteurs’ meeting with stakeholders was also taken into account. Following the meeting, 20 written submissions were received, which included several submissions from stakeholders who were unable to attend the meeting with the Shadow Rapporteurs.

Information and recommendations gathered in this report are also based on the following written sources:

 A European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) study published in July 2023, titled “The early implementation of the 2021-2027 EU programmes Erasmus +, Creative Europe, European Solidarity Corps and Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (Strand 3)”; and

 A Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies study, published in July 2023, titled “EU funding programmes for 2021-2027 in Culture, Media, Education, Youth and Sport: first lessons, challenges and future perspectives: Creative Europe”.


2. Main novelties of the Creative Europe programme 2021-2027

Similar to the previous generation of the programme, Creative Europe has two general objectives. On the one hand, it aims to safeguard and promote the richness and diversity of Europe’s cultural and linguistic heritage and, on the other, the programme aims at boosting the economic potential of the cultural and creative sectors. These two general objectives are complemented by three specific objectives[5], which apply to the three strands.

Compared to the previous programme (2014-2020), the current one features several novelties, which are expected to contribute to the recovery of the cultural and creative sectors from the effects of the COVID-19, supporting their efforts to become more inclusive, digital and environmentally sustainable. For this purpose, the programme has been allocated a total budget of EUR 2.44 billion[6] for the years 2021-2027, which represents an increase of 68% compared to the 2014-2020 programme. This budget increase reflects the commitment of the European Union to help the sectors recover and foster resilience in the years ahead.

The new programme mainstreams its actions through the cross-cutting priorities of inclusion, equality, with a focus on gender balance, and greening. The work programmes for 2021 and 2022 reserve particular attention to the dimension of social inclusion as well as gender balance. In this regard, special attention is given to applicants presenting specific strategies aimed at ensuring gender balance and inclusiveness. Under the Culture strand, the cooperation scheme, as well as the networks, foresee inclusiveness as a priority, whilst the mobility scheme has introduced a top-up for participants with special needs[7]. In 2022, for the first time, the training scheme under the Media strand introduced a mentoring module to strengthen diversity and gender balance in the industry.

Environmental sustainability remains one of the priorities of the programme and is referenced in all of its calls; the programme does not, however, directly support climate mitigation measures. Almost all proposals submitted within the Media strand are requested to provide a strategy to improve the greening of the industry (except for three actions where this is not applicable[8]). In 2022, a focus on greening was proposed in the Talent & Skills action, in order to improve greening skills within the audiovisual industry. The relevance and quality of these strategies were then assessed in the award criteria. In addition, projects that encourage the sectors to adopt more environmentally friendly practices and business-models are supported by the Culture strand, in particular under the European cooperation projects and networks, where sustainability is one of the priorities that can be selected by applicants.

The evaluations carried out in 2021-2022 show that nearly all applicants have taken advantage of the opportunity to start incorporating cross-cutting priorities into their projects. At present, the structure of the calls allows for flexibility so that the project beneficiaries can decide on how to integrate these new priorities into their projects. Several stakeholders, however, recommend that the programme would function better if the beneficiaries were allowed to focus on one inclusion measure as a priority, rather than spending resources on incorporating all priorities, which may be less efficient and unproductive.

Administrative simplification and accessibility are key elements introduced in the current programme in order to broaden the participation of a variety of cultural and creative actors and to alleviate the administrative burden of related procedures. Higher co-financing rates for cooperation projects, as well as several Media actions apply as of 2021, with the aim of facilitating the participation of micro and small-sized organisations. From 2021 onwards, the programme foresees the implementation of the following simplification measures:

 A wider deployment of lump-sums, with a focus on deliverables and results rather than expenses;

 A simplified verification of financial capacity;

 An application of budgetary commitments in multi-annual instalments providing longer-term support whilst reducing administrative burden;

 The introduction of the corporate e-Grant system, which aims to speed-up the administrative procedures of grant management.

2.1 The Culture strand

The Culture strand has been strengthened by increasing the budget for the platform scheme and by introducing grants to cultural entities along with a new scheme for artists, creators and culture professionals to facilitate their transnational mobility. The latter was tested under the previous programme via the I-Portunus pilot project, which allowed for a host of artists, who may not have the means to attract international talent, to be part of the mobility scheme. The mobility action, fully implemented in 2023, supports “artists in residence” activities and other types of place-bound cultural activities organised for, and with, the local communities. Another new feature of this strand is the sectoral and targeted approach, which complements the horizontal instruments with annual actions focusing on sector-specific needs in music, books, architecture, cultural heritage, design, fashion and cultural tourism. This strand also supports the European Heritage Label and a series of awards in the relevant sectors[9].The Cooperation projects scheme remains a cornerstone of the Culture strand, albeit with some relevant new features. These include calls for three different project sizes (small, medium and large) and an increase in co-financing rates, especially for small-sized projects[10].

2.2 The Media strand

The Media strand has been bolstered by structuring the priorities of the new programme around four different clusters (content, business, audience and policy support) with a view to ensuring a broader flexibility in the supported actions, as well as encouraging cooperation along the audiovisual value-chain. The Media strand further enhances its European added-value by broadening the participation of countries with different audio-visual capacities, in addition to fostering cross-border collaboration. In this regard, in 2021, the programme implemented targeted measures to ensure a more level playing field across seven relevant schemes[11]. This strand features three other main novelties. The first is a new specific action, launched in 2022, to support video games and immersive content development. The second is the kick-off of MediaInvest, as foreseen under the MAAP[12], which is a European equity platform aimed at boosting investments in audiovisual production and distribution. The main aim of this action is to mobilise private investment within the European audiovisual industry, which has been kick started by blending resources from both InvestEU programme and the Media strand of the Creative Europe programme. The third, a new form of funding, is the action Media360˚, which aims at boosting cooperation and synergies amongst existing ecosystems to create an impact across the value-chain.

2.3 The Cross-sectoral strand

The Cross-sectoral strand, managed jointly by DG EAC and DG CNECT, is the most innovative one of the current programme. For the first time, the programme covers the news media sector by promoting activities that, while taking into account the digital transition, enhance a free, diverse and pluralistic media environment. In addition, this strand encourages innovative approaches to content creation, access, distribution, and promotion across the cultural and creative sectors with a brand new action called the Creative Innovation Lab. This strand continues to support the establishment and activities of the Creative Europe desks as well as wider policy cooperation and outreach actions. The support to the Cultural and Creative Sectors’ Guarantee Facility market instrument, launched in 2016, was integrated with the new InvestEU programme in 2021.

Another element that can, in its own way, be an unintended novelty for the 2021-2027 programme is Brexit. The new programme has been implemented without the United Kingdom as an EU Member State. Consequently, the country is eligible to participate as a Third country. The UK has taken the decision, however, not to participate with the current programme, resulting in the closure of the UK Creative Europe desk. In 2014-2019, the UK’s participation meant a combined total support of €100 million (EUR 72 million under the Media strand and EUR 27 million under the Culture strand). During that time, 609 projects, involving UK beneficiaries, received around EUR 68 million[13].

3. Third country participation

Participation in the programme is open to Member States as well as several third countries. The latter includes those of the European Free Trade Association[14] (EFTA), which are part of the European Economic Area (EEA), acceding countries, candidate countries, including potential candidates[15], and the European Neighbourhood Policy countries[16]. The intention is that these third countries will become full participants in the programme in the future. As foreseen by article 9 of the Regulation, however, the participation in the Media and Cross-sectoral strands is conditional on specific requirements[17] or a duly justified derogation.

In 2021, provisional participation was granted to the following third countries until 31st December 2022:

 Full provisional participation: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia;

 Partial provisional participation: Tunisia, Georgia and Ukraine.

Beyond that date, continued participation in the Media and Cross-sectoral strands for these countries was contingent on evidence being submitted that they meet the conditions set out in Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMS Directive). In view of the efforts made to gradually align their national legislation, an extension of the provisional participation was granted until 30 June 2023.

This meant that by the end of June 2023:

 Three countries[18], submitted the required evidence and their participation was confirmed until 2027;

 The period of provisional participation was extended for five countries[19] until the end of 2023, as a recognition to the progress made towards alignment.

4. Overview of the first two years of programme implementation

Between 2021 and 2022, 67 calls for proposals were published in total under the three strands[20]. In 2021-2022, 19 calls for proposals were published under the Culture strand, 37 calls under the Media strand and 11 under the Cross-sectoral. The average success rate of project proposals differs between the strands: 30% for Culture compared to 66% for Media. In comparison, the annual success rate for those presented under the Cross-sectoral strand are particularly low varying from 23% in 2021 to 24% in 2022.

i. Year 2021 - budgetary aspects

The 2021 annual work programme was adopted in May 2021 and around EUR 300 million[21] was allocated to promote the diversity and competitiveness of the cultural and creative sectors across Europe. In the first year, the programme benefited from an overall increase of EUR 60 million compared to 2020, which represents a budget increase of 25%. The first year of implementation has, however, been challenging and complex due to the late adoption of the programme regulation and the first annual work programme, in addition to the requirement to put the Regulation into specific actions. This has caused a push forward on the commencement of activities (calls, selection procedure, contracts and related payments).

Due to delays caused by the MFF cycle, some payments had to be moved from 2021 to 2022. This unprecedented situation, however, appeared to have no influence on the funding absorption capacity of the programme, for which all the commitments appropriations of the 2021 voted budget were implemented. In terms of calls for proposals, 21 were published in the first year of implementation (12 project grants and 9 lump sums).


ii. Year 2022 - budgetary aspects

The year-by-year spread of the seven-year budget was front-loaded, with a third of the Creative Europe financial envelope being committed during the first two years of the programme, the highest so far. The 2022 annual work programme was adopted in January 2022 with a total budget of around EUR 400 million[22]. In 2022, the programme benefited from an overall increase close to EUR 100 million, representing a budget increase of 33% compared to the previous year. In 2022, the Agency implemented approximately 90% of the budget, while about 10% was implemented in a centralised manner.

The uneven annual budget profiles called for an exceptional management and programming effort. Therefore, with a view to limiting funding volatility and reducing administrative burden when providing long-term support, multi-annual programming has been implemented in both work programmes 2021-2022. In terms of calls for proposals, 46 were published in 2022 (19 project grants and 27 lump sums).

iii. Administrative challenges and opportunities

From the total number of calls published, the number of those promoting lump-sum types of action compared to project grants is quite high. This trend is even more evident in 2022 when from the total amount of calls published, 58.7% opted for the lump-sum formula. This data indicates that the programme is gradually evolving and is striving to introduce more simplified and streamlined procedures. Stakeholders highlighted the introduction of lump-sum funding as being a major advantage, as it eases the administrative burden both in terms of the application and implementation phases. Despite the efforts made in terms of simplifying and streamlining processes, however, several beneficiaries made complaints regarding the renewed application and monitoring procedures, which partially fail to meet the objective of facilitating participation. This is especially relevant to the smaller entities that have limited financial and human resources. Many also asked for the new e-Grant system to be further tested for user-friendliness and technical issues. This situation also affects the Creative Europe desks, which have reported an increase in requests to find solutions to the problems encountered by the applicants with the digital platform.

iv. Implementation of the Culture strand in 2021-2022

The calls published under the Culture strand attracted 1 475 applications in total requesting an amount of EUR 875 million for all actions. The most competitive scheme of the strand is the European cooperation projects, which received the highest budget ever for their implementation. This is reflected in the total number of applications in that year, which increased by 45% over 2021 (169 projects selected from 682 applications giving an overall success rate of 26%). Overall, within the two years, 291 cooperation projects were supported under this scheme, with a stable number of large-scale cooperation projects being supported, whilst the number of small-scaled ones also increased substantially[23].

Under the literary translation action, 90 projects were supported in 2021 and 2022 (each year around 40 projects were selected initially and an additional five were added from the reserve list). These projects resulted in the translation of 1 024 books written by 815 authors and translated by 651 translators. The books originated from 40 different languages and were translated into 26 target languages.

The year 2022 also saw the launch of the mobility scheme, “Culture Moves Europe”, which is of three years’ duration with monthly rolling evaluations. This scheme, as the successor to the i-Portunus pilot project (2018-2022), provides mobility grants to artists and cultural professionals in 40 Creative Europe countries. It covers the sectors of architecture, cultural heritage, design and fashion design, literary translation, music, performing arts and visual arts. Implemented by the Goethe-Institut, this action has a budget of €21 million for a three-year period from 2022 until 2025.

Culture Moves Europe offers two types of grant:

 The individual mobility scheme (for individuals and groups of up to five persons[24]). Following five monthly evaluations, 4 665 applications were submitted representing a total of 7 689 individuals. Grants of EUR 3.6 million were awarded to 1 802 artists and cultural professionals.

 The residency action, which is aimed at organisations and established individual artists who regularly organise residencies and are interested in hosting artists and cultural professionals. The deadline for the first call of this action was in June 2023.

v. Implementation of the Media strand in 2021-2022

The calls published under the Media strand attracted 2 124 applicants in total, 929 in 2021 and 1 195 in 2022. Among these applicants, 63% were successful in securing funding in 2021 and 69% in 2022. The large number of applicants in the first two years demonstrates the strong interest of the European audiovisual sector in the programme. Despite the decrease in the success rate in 2021, the Media strand continues to play a key role in fostering growth and resilience for the sector. The Media actions that financed the highest number of grants in 2021 and 2022 are: Film Distribution (482 grants), Development Slate (166 grants), Co-development (117 grants) and European Festivals (92 grants).

vi. Implementation of the Cross-sectoral strand in 2021-2022

The calls published under the Cross-sectoral strand attracted around 243 applicants, requesting a total amount of EUR 210 million. The first call for Media Literacy was launched in 2022, resulting in six grants being awarded and one being denied due to an insufficient budget. Also under this strand, two grants were awarded under the call for Defending Media Freedom and Pluralism. The Journalism partnerships’ calls have seen a considerable increase in the number of projects being submitted, ranging from 30 in 2021 to 54 in 2022. The success rate of most calls under this strand were, however, quite low with only 23% of applicants receiving a grant in 2021 and 24% in 2022.

vii. Delivering of the programme

In 2021 and 2022, the programme supported a total 1 909 projects (1 422 under Media, 441 under Culture and 46 Cross-sectoral). In both years, the programme provided grants to around 3 860 organisations (2 146 under Culture, 1 452 under Media and 262 under Cross-sectoral). The available data reveals that 73% of the beneficiaries under Culture were small-sized organisations. Despite the positive data, stakeholders underlined challenges relating to the uptake and participation of smaller organisations in the programme.

5. Programme contribution to key EU challenges and priorities

The main EU challenges also relevant to the cultural, creative and audiovisual sectors are digital transformation, green transition, the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical instability caused by the Russian aggression against Ukraine, and the EU strategic autonomy.

The Creative Europe programme addresses all the afore-mentioned challenges, albeit differently. The Regulation makes a strong reference to the digital transformation and the post-pandemic recovery, whilst the green transition and the EU strategic autonomy are tackled to a much lesser extent.

The Regulation does not refer to the Russian aggression as the Regulation was already in force when Russia launched its full-scale invasion against Ukraine in February 2022; this also applies to the work programmes of 2021 and 2022. Nevertheless, the programme has shown a great level of flexibility and resilience in responding to urgent needs arising from both the pandemic and the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine are included as one of the programme’s key challenges to the work programme 2023. A targeted call of EUR 5 million to support the Ukrainian artists and cultural sectors was launched in November 2022, under the Culture strand. The three projects selected, involving 16 European and Ukrainian organisations, offer flexible funding mechanisms and capacity building in three areas: support to artists and cultural organisations, integration of displaced Ukrainian artists through the arts, and the reconstruction of cultural heritage.

The post-pandemic recovery challenges were primarily addressed in the 2021-2022 calls under the Culture strand where the effects of the pandemic were still strong. Lastly, the challenge of the EU strategic autonomy is mentioned in the Cross-sectoral strand only by referring to the relevant role of journalists and media in democracy.

6. Conclusion

The analysis carried out for this report is based on limited data covering the two years of the programme’s implementation. Moreover, when this report was drafted, data resulting from the qualitative and quantitative indicators, established by the new Regulation, were not yet available. It is, therefore, only possible to draw a preliminary assessment of the programme and not a thorough evaluation of its performance for the whole 2021-2027 programme period.

The first two years of implementation have been greatly impacted by many unexpected external factors that consistently affected programme development. The COVID-19 pandemic and recovery, followed by the war of aggression against Ukraine and its repercussions such as high inflation, have disrupted the entire cultural ecosystem throughout 2021 and 2022. Furthermore, the implementation of the programme in 2021 was delayed due to the late adoption of its legal basis. Despite this scenario, the early implementation of the programme has been quite effective overall.

The Rapporteur welcomes the reactivity of the programme to unforeseen challenges and its ability to adjust when required. In this regard, the budget increase and higher co-financing rates have been positively received by the stakeholders, as has the extension of deadlines for many calls and related flexibilities shown by both the Commission and EACEA to beneficiaries. The Rapporteur, however, regrets that the substantial budget increase will be partially absorbed by high inflation, which may require further adjustments in the remaining years of this MFF cycle. The newly adopted simplification measures appear to have had positive effects so far and they should be further developed.

The Rapporteur believes that is essential to have early and reliable timetabling of calls for proposals in the near future, thus allowing candidates to have more time to plan in advance. Furthermore, improvements to the IT tools deployed for the Creative Europe programme must be implemented; in particular, the IT tools must suit the diverse types of organisations applying to the programme.

Lastly, the Rapporteur considers the mainstreaming of the cross-cutting priorities across the three strands as a positive development. Considering the relatively recent start of the programme, along with the complexity entailed in assessing the societal impact of projects, the Rapporteur recommends, however, a more in-depth monitoring and assessment of this new feature. This will provide a better understanding of how the programme functions in relation to this specific aspect.


Pursuant to Article 8 of Annex I to the Rules of Procedure, the rapporteur declares that he has received input from the following entities or persons in the preparation of the report, until the adoption thereof in committee:

Entity and/or person

CED Kultur, Germany

Relais Culture Europe, France

CEPI, European Audiovisual Production Association

EFAD, European Film Agency Directors Association


Europa Distribution

EPC, European Producers Club

FERA, Federation of European Screen Directors

FIAD, International Federation of Film Distributors’ and Publishers’ Associations

The Society of Audiovisual Authors

UNIC, International Union of Cinemas

APA, Associazione Produttori Audiovisivi

CAE, Culture Action Europe

IETM, International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts


British Council

EIBF, European and International Bookseller Federation

FEP, Federation of European Publishers

EFA, European Festival Association

European Arts & Disability Cluster

EWC, European Writers Council

Future of Religious Heritage

ECSA, European Composer & Songwriter Alliance

EMC, European Music Council


Live DMA

IMPALA, Independent Music Companies Association

PEARLE, Live Performance Europe


The list above is drawn up under the exclusive responsibility of the rapporteur.




on the implementation of the Creative Europe Programme 2021-2027


The European Parliament,

 having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in particular, Articles 167, 173(3) and 294(7) thereof,

 having regard to Regulation (EU) No 2021/818 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2021 establishing the Creative Europe programme (2021 to 2027)[25],

 having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1295/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Creative Europe programme (2014 to 2020)[26],

 having regard to the Commission proposal of 5 May 2018 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Creative Europe programme (2021 to 2027) and repealing Regulation (EU) No 1295/2013 (COM(2018)0366),

 having regard to its position at first reading of 28 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Creative Europe programme (2021 to 2027) and repealing Regulation (EU) No 1295/2013[27],

 having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 12 December 2018 on ‘Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Creative Europe programme (2021 to 2027) and repealing Regulation (EU) No 1295/2013’[28],

 having regard to the opinion of the European Committee of the Regions of 6 February 2019 on ‘Creative Europe and A New European Agenda for Culture’[29],

 having regard to the Commission report of 30 April 2018 entitled ‘Mid-term evaluation of the Creative Europe programme (2014-2020)’ (COM(2018)0248),

 having regard to Commission Implementing Decision C(2023)3227 of 5 June 2023 amending Implementing Decision C(2021)3563 on the financing of the Creative Europe Programme for 2021-2025 and the adoption of the work programmes for 2021, 2022 and 2023,

 having regard to Commission Implementing Decision C(2022)6138 of 31 August 2022 amending Implementing Decision C(2021)3563 on the financing of the Creative Europe Programme for 2021-2023 and the adoption of the work programmes for 2021 and 2022,

 having regard to Commission Implementing Decision C(2021)3563 of 26 May 2021 on the adoption of the work programme for the implementation of the Creative Europe Programme for 2021,

 having regard to the Commission 2022 Annual Work Programme for the implementation of the Creative Europe Programme,

 having regard to the Commission 2021 Annual Work Programme for the implementation of the Creative Europe Programme,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 11 July 2023 entitled ‘An EU initiative on Web 4.0 and virtual worlds: a head start in the next technological transition’ (COM(2023)0442),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 3 December 2020 entitled ‘Europe’s Media in the Digital Decade: An Action Plan to Support Recovery and Transformation’ (COM(2020)0784),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 22 May 2018 entitled ‘A New European Agenda for Culture’ (COM(2018)0267),

 having regard to the Council Resolution of 7 December 2022 on the EU Work Plan for Culture 2023–2026[30],

 having regard to its resolution of 14 September 2023 on the future of the European book sector[31],

 having regard to its resolution of 14 December 2022 on the implementation of the New European Agenda for Culture and the EU Strategy for International Cultural Relations[32],

 having regard to its resolution of 20 October 2021 on Europe’s Media in the Digital Decade: an Action Plan to Support Recovery and Transformation[33],

 having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2020 on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences[34],

 having regard to its resolution of 15 September 2020 on ‘Effective measures to ‘green’ Erasmus+, Creative Europe and the European Solidarity Corps[35],

 having regard to its resolution of 17 September 2020 on the cultural recovery of Europe[36],

 having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure, as well as Article 1(1)(e) of, and Annex 3 to, the decision of the Conference of Presidents of 12 December 2002 on the procedure for granting authorisation to draw up own-initiative reports,

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education (A9-0425/2023),

A. whereas the data gathered confirms the considerable interest of the cultural and creative sectors in the programme; whereas higher co-financing rates for different actions under the Culture and Media strands have proven beneficial in supporting the cultural and creative ecosystems and have provided better opportunities for small-scale projects too, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic;

B. whereas the Creative Europe programme 2021-2027 features an overall budget increase of about 68 % compared to its predecessor; whereas this increase is significantly depreciating due to the constantly rising inflation rate[37] associated with energy costs; whereas the overall budget has been frontloaded with a third of the financial allocation committed in the years 2021 and 2022 to address, inter alia, the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic;

C. whereas Creative Europe is the only programme that solely provides support to all cultural and creative sectors whose activities are based on cultural and artistic values, especially by supporting creators and artists, such as authors and performers, in addition to small-sized projects;

D. whereas the programme recognises the intrinsic and artistic value of culture, which should remain at the heart of the programme, while striking an equal balance with its broader contribution to innovation and growth; whereas Creative Europe, as an EU funded programme, should contribute to the implementation of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights and promote fair practices and working conditions in the cultural and creative sectors;

E. whereas one of the main novelties of the programme is that it mainstreams the cross-cutting priorities of inclusion, diversity, in particular gender balance and greening; whereas the 2021 and 2022 annual work programmes pay particular attention to fostering social inclusion and gender equality; whereas the implementation of the programme should ensure the broadest cultural participation with a view to including, inter alia, people with disabilities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds;

F. whereas the programme aims to support the digital transition of the cultural and creative sectors as technology has transformed how these sectors create, produce and disseminate content; whereas while digitalisation may provide opportunities to increase cultural participation, it may also lead to different challenges from those of the analogue era;

G. whereas the administrative management procedures of the Creative Europe programme (application, evaluation and reporting) are still considered by a significant number of beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries to be highly time-consuming and burdensome, despite some progress in terms of simplification;

H. whereas the onerous administrative management procedures often discourage the participation of less experienced applicants, including young creators, in addition to small-sized organisations, especially those from disadvantaged areas; whereas the application procedure needs to be simplified and improved, primarily due to the increase in the number of procedural steps and its user-unfriendly interface, which may not be compatible with widely used applications;

I. whereas the platform for the programme includes a complex reporting procedure which is difficult to navigate and which was not originally designed for the type of projects funded by the programme;

J. whereas the Culture strand promotes the networking of creative communities and fosters cross-border collaboration, with a particular focus on cooperation projects; whereas, within the first two years of implementation, the cooperation project scheme emerged as the most popular under the Culture strand, providing support to 291 projects; whereas the Commission should consider expanding the Culture strand’s outreach activity in order to increase participation across all cultural and creative communities, including those from the peripheral and rural areas;

K. whereas the Media strand plays a significant role in fostering growth and resilience within the audiovisual sector; whereas it has attracted 2 124 applicants in the two-year period 2021-2022, with a 66 % average success rate;

L. whereas the ‘Writing European’ preparatory action, supported as of 2021, has been developed with the aim of supporting creators, in particular authors, in conceiving and developing high quality fiction series able to travel across borders and reach new audiences;

M. whereas the Cross-sectoral strand features a greater number of novelties reflecting new objectives; whereas the cross-cutting actions supporting the news media sector constitute a brand new focus of the Creative Europe programme;

N. whereas enhancing mobility in Europe’s cultural and creative sectors is a specific objective of the programme pursued through a dedicated new scheme under the Culture strand;

O. whereas Culture Moves Europe is the largest EU mobility scheme for the cultural and creative sectors and had attracted around 4 660 application by mid-2023; whereas approximately 85 % of applications are from sectors such as the visual arts, performing arts and music;

P. whereas the programme acknowledges the importance of the music sector as an essential component of Europe’s cultural diversity, which can benefit from the horizontal approach under the Culture strand; whereas during the 2021-2022 period the Music Moves Europe Initiative allocated EUR 5 million to strengthening the competitiveness, innovation and diversity of Europe’s music sector;

Q. whereas the Literary Translation Action plays a unique role in promoting authors across borders, reaching new audiences and contributing to a more culturally and linguistically diverse Europe;

R. whereas the public support source for the audiovisual ecosystem in Europe originates mainly from the national level with the Media strand complementing the national systems by supporting projects with a long-lasting impact;

S. whereas the Creative Europe desks play a key role as intermediaries between the Commission, the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), applicants and beneficiaries; whereas more than 60 % of all applicants in 2021-2022 contacted their local desk before submitting an application;

T. whereas, in light of the crucial role of the Creative Europe desks in promoting and informing the cultural and creative sectors about all aspects of the programme, cooperation and exchanges between the Commission - including the EACEA - and the Creative Europe desks must be strengthened and encompass the sharing of relevant information on upcoming calls for proposals;

U. whereas the Creative Europe programme plays a strategic role in enhancing the external dimension of the European Union’s cultural relations by fostering partnerships between different actors from the cultural and creative sectors, availing of a people-to-people approach, in addition to promoting cultural diversity within Europe and beyond;

V. whereas the programme recognises the importance of safeguarding and promoting the artistry and craft sectors, especially in the cultural heritage field, in addition to acknowledging their vital role in supporting both the urban and rural economies across Europe as well as their role in enhancing cultural diversity;

W. whereas the Seal of Excellence is a novelty of the Creative Europe programme 2021-2027, which was introduced with the aim of enhancing synergies and simplifying the search for alternative funding in the event of budgetary constraints;

X. whereas the European Capital of Culture, as a special action, is a prestigious initiative enjoying a well-established place on global cultural agendas and which has highlighted the richness and uniqueness of the diversity of cultures and cities since its creation in 1985;

1. Highlights that the new generation of the Creative Europe programme continues to generate significant interest within the cultural, creative and audiovisual sectors, as well as the news media, with an increasing number of applications received under the three strands, resulting in a proportionate decrease in the success rate of applications, which may cause a sense of disillusionment with the programme in these sectors;

2. Welcomes the programme’s response in mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which severely disrupted the cultural and creative sectors even before the beginning of the current programme; reiterates, however, its call on the Commission and the Member States to strengthen efforts to address the long-term effects of the pandemic on creators and cultural professionals, particularly those relating to their upskilling and reskilling to address the needs arising from developments and challenges affecting the sectors;

3. Regrets that not all Member States allocated at least 2 % of the Recovery and Resilience Facility to ensuring these sectors’ resilience, as requested by Parliament; calls on all Member States, therefore, to strengthen synergies and ensure sufficient targeted investments for these sectors through other EU programmes;

4. Acknowledges the flexibility of the Commission and the EACEA in implementing the programme, which was adapted to take into account the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic; highlights, however, the need to strike a balance between harmonised administrative management systems for all EU programmes, on the one hand, and the specific needs of different beneficiaries, on the other; urges, therefore, the Commission and the EACEA to step up their efforts to simplify the administrative management procedures of the Creative Europe programme 2021-2027; emphasises, nevertheless, that streamlining and simplification should not result in the reduction of financial and human resources devoted to project monitoring and evaluation;

5. Acknowledges that the application process is often complex, especially for individuals, micro and small organisations with limited financial and human resources; calls on the Commission and the EACEA, therefore, to permit the costs associated with the application process to be included in the overall estimated budget costs; calls, moreover, on the Creative Europe desks to further strengthen support to all applicants;

6. Calls on the Commission to schedule regular capacity-building exchanges with beneficiaries to outline novelties such as new requirements under the reporting system, including deliverables compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation[38]; emphasises, as part of the programme’s aim to enhance diversity, inclusion and gender equality, the urgent need for improvements to the reporting system in order to ensure accessibility and ease of use for all beneficiaries, including people with disabilities;

7. Acknowledges the progressive introduction of inclusion incentives across all strands in the first two years of the programme’s implementation; notes, however, the lack of comprehensive data on how the programme’s objectives are being pursued in a way that encourages inclusion, equality, diversity and participation; urges the Commission to provide, in this regard, a detailed report on this in its interim evaluation;

8. Acknowledges that the programme contributes to the objective of climate and environmental sustainability through its actions; notes, however, that greening priorities have been introduced differently in the three programme strands; calls on the Commission to closely monitor the implementation of greening priorities and their impact on the sectors and to regularly report on its assessment; underlines the importance of developing training and awareness-raising activities with a view to promoting the adoption of more sustainable practices by the cultural and creative sectors;

9. Highlights the importance of supporting the cultural and creative actors in navigating the opportunities offered at EU level; welcomes, in this regard, the CulturEU initiative, a multilingual interactive guide mapping all funding opportunities available; stresses the crucial importance of maintaining regular and, where relevant, targeted exchanges with the cultural, creative and audiovisual sectors, as well as the news media, with the aim of achieving beneficial cooperation; reminds the Commission of the importance of ensuring appropriate stakeholder involvement in the preparation of future yearly work programmes; suggests that the Commission evaluates whether Creative Europe 2028-2034 could be better implemented through annual or biennial work programmes;

10. Calls for the strengthening of communication and exchanges between the Commission, the EACEA and the Creative Europe desks to ensure that the latter have access to all relevant information to enable quality support and guidance to applicants and beneficiaries; recalls also, in this regard, the importance of transparency in disseminating call results; calls on the Commission, therefore, to continue publishing the list of all grant recipients along with the amounts awarded in a timely manner;

11. Underlines the importance of identifying the programme and raising its visibility; calls on the Commission, in this regard, to report to Parliament on the implementation of the communication strategy of the programme, including the use of official logos;

12. Underlines the willingness of a significant number of beneficiaries to share their achievements and results with the cultural, creative and audiovisual sectors as well as European citizens; points out, in this regard, that the platform made available for this purpose is considered unsatisfactory, calls on the Commission, therefore, to involve beneficiaries in the development of a more suitable platform;

13. Notes that some Member States do not provide national indemnity schemes or insurance cover to facilitate the mobility of cultural goods; acknowledges that commercial insurance costs can be significant for numerous cultural actors; suggests, in this regard, that the Commission publishes a feasibility study on a pan-European guarantee scheme to cover indemnity costs as a first step to address this issue;

14. Urges the Commission to promote the human-centric and transparent use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the artistic and creative process by developing appropriate ethical standards relating to AI use; calls on the Commission, in this regard, to ensure that both applicants and beneficiaries provide information relating to the use of AI in projects, including in the production, distribution and promotion of creative works, in order to assess this emerging trend in the cultural and creative sectors and its impact on the programme;

15. Stresses the significant potential of the Creative Europe programme in developing and enhancing transnational partnerships, thus also contributing to the EU’s international relations through culture;

16. Calls on the Commission to invest appropriate resources on the external dimension of the programme and to encourage further cooperation between cultural institutes and organisations in Member States, as well as EU National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) Clusters in third countries; calls on the Commission, furthermore, to support and facilitate the participation of third countries in the programme, where possible;


17. Highlights that the current Creative Europe programme, despite the significantly increased budget for the period 2021-2027, is still oversubscribed; calls on the Commission and the Member States, in this regard, to substantially increase the financial allocation of the Creative Europe programme 2028-2034;

18. Recognises the urgent need in the two-year period 2021-2022 to frontload expenditure in order to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and those of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine; underlines, however, the detrimental impact that this measure will have in the second half of the financial cycle;

19. Urges the Member States and the Commission, given the challenges arising from digitalisation and greening, as well as from high subscription rates, rampant inflation and associated high energy costs, which are all severely affecting beneficiaries’ operational capacity, to ensure that there are no budget cuts to the programme’s allocation in the upcoming budget years;

20. Regrets that the Seal of Excellence label has not yet been implemented; calls on the Commission to roll out this label immediately, so that projects may avail of the opportunities offered by cumulative and alternative funding during this programming cycle;

21. Deplores the fact that under the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF) there is no flexibility for topping up the Creative Europe programme and underlines that this precludes the funding of new initiatives, valuable pilot projects and preparatory actions; recalls, in this regard, that pilot projects and preparatory actions are important tools for testing new initiatives that may develop into standing EU funding programmes or be subsumed into existing ones;

22. Deplores the funding gap between the two MFF cycles, which particularly affected the network scheme and calls on the Commission to ensure that this does not recur in the future; calls on the Commission, in light of the key role of this scheme in supporting the cultural and creative sectors’ capacity to operate transnationally and internationally, to provide adequate funding and, in addition, to consider the introduction of operational grants for this action;

Culture strand

23. Welcomes the introduction of the sectoral approach as a new feature of the Culture strand, which complements horizontal actions; calls for its enhancement through an adequate budget allocation ensuring that no sector is left behind and there is no reduction to the allocation for horizontal actions;

24. Recalls the importance of further safeguarding and promoting freedom of artistic expression, in particular in the funding opportunities offered by the programme under the cultural cooperation projects action and the European networks scheme;

25. Recognises that the increased co-financing rates, especially for small-scale cooperation projects, are beneficial and facilitate the participation of small organisations; calls on the Commission and the EACEA, in this regard, to allow project consortia to independently determine how funding is distributed among their partners provided the overall co-funding rate applies at project level;

26. Underlines the importance of cross-border mobility for all creators, as it nurtures the creative process by enhancing professional opportunities abroad; welcomes, in this regard, Culture Moves Europe as a new mobility action under the Creative Europe programme;

27. Acknowledges the high quality of applications received under the mobility scheme; calls on the Commission, however, to promote Culture Moves Europe to a wider audience with the aid and support of all Creative Europe desks through communication and outreach activities; believes that these activities should specifically target individual sectors, including creators from all marginalised groups as well as less represented countries and regions, in order to ensure geographical balance;

28. Points out, while recognising the major success of the new mobility action, that it is imperative for an analysis of the main emerging trends to be carried out by the end of 2024 with a view to exploring the possibility of further expanding this action to include new actors, such as representatives from the book sector; calls on the Commission, in this regard, to increase the budget allocated to this action from 2025 onwards;

29. Emphasises the positive impact of the green and family top-ups implemented for the mobility scheme, which represent a concrete example of how the programme can be more inclusive; calls on the Commission, therefore, to consider implementing this approach in other actions of the Creative Europe programme;

30. Welcomes the increase in funding for the European Platforms for the promotion of emerging artists under the Culture strand and highlights the positive impact it has had on diversity by increasing the visibility of artists and their works on an international scale; calls on the Commission, therefore, to continue developing this action by ensuring adequate funding and promotion;

31. Underlines the importance of the network scheme in providing networking and capacity-building opportunities, which strengthen the diversity and competitiveness of the European cultural and creative sectors; calls on the Commission, in this regard, to provide adequate funding for this action with a view to supporting current beneficiaries and new networks;

32. Underlines that the sectoral approach is an excellent tool that strengthens the book and publishing sector, enabling concerted actions that support and stimulate market access and the wider circulation of European works;

33. Recalls that literary translation is the main support scheme for the book sector; stresses, however, the need to expand this scheme to include the translation of European non-fiction books; invites the Commission, in view of the mid-term review of the programme, to develop measurable goals on how funding is allocated in order to improve the accessibility of books for people with disabilities;

34. Welcomes the increase in actions providing support to the music sector under the Culture strand, resulting in a higher number of music-related projects being submitted under the current programme; calls on the Commission, however, to develop a more strategic and sector-oriented approach for the music sector with a view to addressing new and upcoming challenges, building on the results of the Music Moves Europe preparatory action; stresses in this regard the importance of a regular structured dialogue between the music ecosystem and the Commission; calls on the Commission, furthermore, to gather data in cooperation with the sector on Member States’ music markets and report on all emerging challenges affecting the entire ecosystem;

35. Emphasises the importance of the European Capital of Culture special action as a catalyst for the cultural and economic regeneration of cities and regions; stresses the need, long overdue, for increased funding for this special action to meet the additional costs incurred as a result of the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and rampant inflation; calls on the Commission, therefore, to increase the funding for the Melina Mercouri Prize, which has been endowed with only EUR 1.5 million for several years; calls, furthermore, on the Member States to ensure a lasting legacy for the initiative and to support its outreach with a view to increasing participation in the cultural activities developed under it;

36. Acknowledges that the European Heritage Label is a valuable initiative promoting the significant role these sites play in the history and culture of Europe and notes that during the period from 2013 to 2021 60 sites have been granted the label; calls on the Commission, however, to improve the visibility of the European Heritage Label by developing synergies with other relevant EU financial instruments;

37. Underlines the importance of the prizes supported by the Creative Europe programme in literature, architecture and heritage, music (contemporary, rock and pop) and audiovisual arts; emphasises that these long-standing initiatives are well-known in these sectors and that they increase the visibility of the European cultural and creative sectors by rewarding achievements in different fields;

Media strand

38. Acknowledges that the Media strand remains the main European instrument providing strategic support to the independent audiovisual sector, which consists primarily of small and medium-sized companies; highlights the significant international competition that European audiovisual, cinema and videogame sectors are facing and the crucial support this strand offers for recovery and transformation of these sectors and for increasing the EU’s strategic autonomy; stresses, in this regard, the importance of ensuring a an adequate budget allocation for the Media strand and insists on the need for comprehensive data for assessing and monitoring whether and how the programme effectively succeeds in increasing the economic and cultural potential of these sectors;

39. Acknowledges the positive impact of the targeted measures introduced under the Media strand to broaden the participation of countries with different audiovisual capacities and to strengthen cross-border collaboration;

40. Highlights that a large number of high quality projects under the co-development and mini-slate schemes were rejected in 2021-2022 due to budgetary constraints; calls on the Commission, therefore, to allocate a larger budget for the future implementation of these schemes;

41. Underlines the vital roles of the European Film Distribution and European Film Sales support schemes in contributing to the cultural diversity of the European audiovisual sector by increasing the cross-border circulation of European films and offsetting some of the risks distributors take when investing in the production, distribution and promotion of non-national European films; stresses, therefore, that it is essential for funding for both schemes to be increased and for further efforts to be made to ensure the wider circulation and online availability of European works;

42. Underlines that in many European countries, there are no support schemes dedicated to the screening of cinematic works; highlights, in this regard, the importance of maintaining adequate funding for the Europa Cinemas network, a flagship initiative under the Media strand, which contributes to the circulation of European films in cinemas;

43. Stresses that the Creative Europe Regulation 2021-2027 extends the provision of support to networking activities for audiovisual professionals, including creators; points out that this action has not yet been implemented; calls on the Commission, therefore, to implement a specific action with the objective of supporting activities dedicated to networking and cooperation by European professional and cultural organisations within the audiovisual value chain in a timely manner;

44. Recalls the success of the Writing European preparatory action and suggests that Commission should include the objectives pursued by this action in the Creative Europe programme;

45. Welcomes the introduction of a dedicated action to support the development of video games and immersive content, which has generated considerable interest within the sector; calls on the Commission to support the cultural and creative dimension of this sector by taking into account its specific characteristics and related needs when designing the relevant calls for proposal, including the need to test new business models in the virtual world to enable skills development in this domain, with particular emphasis on the participation of women; notes, however, that the current budget might be insufficient for this and calls for additional funding to support the growth of the European videogame ecosystem and encourage the development and retention of European talent;

46. Highlights that rising inflation, in a highly competitive audiovisual market, has an impact on production costs; calls on the Commission, therefore, to adapt upwards the funding ceilings with the aim of ensuring that the Media strand delivers its support to the audiovisual industry;

47. Recognises the success of the Networks of European Festival call, which has supported 71 festivals in 12 networks, which cooperated to foster audience engagement, among other things; calls on the Commission, therefore, to continue funding the two complementary actions, the European Festivals and the Network of European Festivals, in alternate years;

48. Notes that, as the Media Invest facility attracted a large number of applications, greater budgetary synergies with the InvestEU programme must be ensured for its future implementation; calls on the Commission to further improve the promotion of this facility in the audiovisual sector;

49. Recalls that the Commission’s proposal for a European Media Freedom Act of September 2022 establishes a European Board for Media Services to replace the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) set up by Directive 2010/13/EU[39]; stresses in light of the limited financial resources available for the implementation of the programme’s objectives that the budget allocated to the Media Strand and other programme budget lines must not be allocated for the financing of the Board;

Cross-sectoral strand

50. Regrets that the actions programmed under the Cross-sectoral strand have suffered the greatest delays in implementation, especially in 2021, due to the novelties introduced in the strand;

51. Notes that the Journalism Partnerships and the Media Literacy calls attracted the highest number of applications in 2021-2022, underlining the urgent need for an increase in financial support for the European media sector;

52. Notes that the low success rate of applications under the Cross-sectoral strand, in spite of the overall high quality of the submissions, indicates a high demand for financial support which regrettably cannot be addressed by the current financial allocation;

53. Calls on the Commission to ensure that in the remaining programming period no less than 9 %[40] of the overall budget 2021-2027 is allocated to supporting the objectives of the Cross-sectoral strand;


° °

54. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the national Creative Europe programme desks.



Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Asim Ademov, Andrea Bocskor, Ilana Cicurel, Laurence Farreng, Tomasz Frankowski, Catherine Griset, Sylvie Guillaume, Hannes Heide, Irena Joveva, Petra Kammerevert, Niyazi Kizilyürek, Niklas Nienaß, Marcos Ros Sempere, Monica Semedo, Andrey Slabakov, Michaela Šojdrová, Sabine Verheyen, Theodoros Zagorakis, Milan Zver

Substitutes present for the final vote

João Albuquerque, Ibán García Del Blanco, Chiara Gemma, Łukasz Kohut, Marcel Kolaja, Emmanuel Maurel, Wolfram Pirchner, Rob Rooken






Asim Ademov, Tomasz Frankowski, Wolfram Pirchner, Michaela Šojdrová, Sabine Verheyen, Theodoros Zagorakis, Milan Zver


Ilana Cicurel, Laurence Farreng, Irena Joveva, Monica Semedo


João Albuquerque, Ibán García Del Blanco, Sylvie Guillaume, Hannes Heide, Petra Kammerevert, Łukasz Kohut, Marcos Ros Sempere

The Left

Niyazi Kizilyürek, Emmanuel Maurel


Marcel Kolaja, Niklas Nienaß





Rob Rooken, Andrey Slabakov


Catherine Griset





Chiara Gemma


Andrea Bocskor


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Last updated: 3 January 2024
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