The Creative Europe programme 2021-2027

In “Promoting our European Way of Life”

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For a brief overview of the key points of the adopted text and its significance for the citizen, please see the corresponding summary note.

EU cultural policy promotes cultural diversity, cultural heritage, and artistic freedom. Cultural and creative sectors (CCS - 4% of EU jobs) face economic challenges: strong global competition, digital shift affecting creators’ revenues, creation, distribution, promotion of and access to content, market fragmented along linguistic lines and poor transnational circulation.

In its May 2018 'A New European Agenda for Culture' the European Commission set its strategic objectives:

  • social - access to, active participation in cultural activities, professional mobility
  • economic - access to finance, fair revenues, skills in arts, technology, business
  • international - cooperation on cultural heritage and culture, intercultural dialogue for sustainable social and economic development. 

The European Commission’s proposal for a regulation establishing the successor of the current popular Creative Europe programme (2021-2027) further detailed its specific objectives:

  • EU level cooperation on cultural diversity, cultural heritage, CCS’ competitiveness, and international cultural relations
  • promotion of audiovisual sector's competitiveness
  • cooperation and innovation, media pluralism and literacy, social inclusion.

It keeps the original programme’s three strands structure and focus:

  • culture: cross-border circulation, participation and social inclusion, growth and jobs, arts education, international outreach and diplomacy;
  • media: new talents, skills, innovation and cooperation in audiovisual sector, new business models and technologies enhancing wider access  to and promotion of European audiovisual works across borders and beyond, theatrical and online distribution;
  • cross sectoral: cross-sector approach combining arts, technology and business in the creation, distribution, promotion of, and access to content, quality journalism, media pluralism and literacy, culture in social inclusion.

The current level of funding of the €1485 million raises to €1850 million [€1 403 million (2014-2020 budget for EU-27 Member States and European Development Fund) to €1 642 million (commitments, 2018 prices)]. It accounts to just 0.14% of the EU budget.

The EESC, a consultative body, called for an extra €80 million for cross-sectoral projects with other industries, and support from other EU programmes, with at least € 3 billion from Horizon 2020 for digital technologies. Another consultative body, the CoR requested a €2 billion budget. It was concerned with funding for the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) and the lack of clarity about the guarantee facility for cultural SMEs (the majority of CCS firms).

The March  2019 EP resolution called on the Commission to double the current budget to €2.806 billion and work on better quantitative and qualitative indicators. It proposed to create the European Observatory for Culture and Creative Sectors to monitor the programme’s implementation and impact, and effects of cultural policies, introduce the evaluation criteria for grants related to quality of the project, and reintroduce a European added value. Micro-size projects would enhance small-scale cultural cooperation that needs specific co-financing rate and availability of the Guarantee Facility for CCS, moved to the InvestEU funding but not earmarked. The EP and the Council would have their say with the work programme established through delegated acts. The European Film Academy (EFA) would have a role in the organisation of the LUX Film Prize, and the EUYO, assigned specified missions, would get its funding without calls for tender.

The Commission did not support the EP on budgetary issues, delegated acts, award criteria, evaluation or the EFA and the Lux Prize.

On its November 2018 first meeting the Culture Council identified gender equality, diversity, translation and subtitling as challenges. The Council partial general approach of December did not cover budgetary aspects, dependent on final agreement on the EU budget - the MFF.

At the beginning of the new legislature in July 2019, the EP Culture and Education Committee (CULT) Committee decided to open interinstitutional negotiations.

The trilogue on technical level made a fair progress but the Council did not follow the EP on issues such as the programme governance, inclusion, music sector, EFA, and EUYO. As the Commission did not come up with a new proposal, the EP negotiators decided to halt the process at the third trilogue session in December.

In February 2020, the CULT Committee declared unacceptable the Council president’s new MFF proposal cutting the programme’s funding.

In May, it stated that the programme’s budget needed to double to €2.806 billion, to help CCS, the sector hit the hardest by the Covid-19 lockdown.

In its May MFF proposal “The EU budget powering the recovery plan for Europe” the Commission set the funding for the Creative Europe programme at € 1520 million. The June, CULT Committee criticised the 13% cut to the programme and the resulting fewer supported projects.

As the July European Council conclusions maintained the May 2018 funding level, the subsequent EP resolution gave its negotiators a mandate to defend the funding.

On December 14 2020, the Parliament and the Council  agreed to secure 2.2 billion funding. Its  36% increase is particularly important for Covid stricken sectors. The funding is only available for projects with a European added-value, and inclusion and gender equality have more focus. Contemporary and live music, as well as transnational distribution also got more attention. While EFA got a role in the organisation of the LUX Film Prize, the EUYO is not specifically included in the regulation.

The CULT Committee on January 2021 unanimously confirmed the provisional agreement with Council (early second reading trilogue) and adopted its report on May 10. The EP adopted the resolution on the programme on May 19 and the final act was signed the next day and published in the Official Journal on May 28. The programme is operational as of January 1, 2021.


    Author: Magdalena Pasikowska-Schnass, Members' Research Service,

    As of 20/11/2022.