Supporting the EU’s cultural sector through Covid-19

The culture sector is suffering because of lockdown measures introduced across the EU to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

MEPs call for support for artists affected by the pandemic

MEPs underlined the special nature of the creative sector and the difficulties faced by artists and called on the EU to provide support in a resolution adopted on 17 April.

The pandemic has affected everyone and many sectors of the economy are struggling, but the culture sector is one of the worst hit. Performances across Europe have been cancelled, festivals, conferences and exhibitions postponed, cinemas, theatres and museums closed, television and film productions put on hold, so many artists cannot earn a living.

Many EU countries have introduced measures aimed specifically at helping culture sector workers and Europe’s culture ministers discussed support initiatives for the culture and creative sector during the coronavirus crisis at a meeting on 8 April.

The EU is stepping up to protect jobs, but the specificity of the cultural sector makes it harder for its workers to qualify for support. There are many individual artists, small businesses and charities. That is why Parliament’s culture committee wants the EU to set up specific aid to help the sector survive the crisis.

German EPP member Sabine Verheyen, chair of Parliament's culture committee, said more should be done at the EU level to provide tailored support for culture sector workers until things are back to normal.

MEPs have written a letter to Thierry Breton, Internal Market Commissioner; and Mariya Gabriel, Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner, in which they call for:

  • Protecting artists who may not qualify for national support schemes through the Creative Europe programme
  • Making sure EU funds reach the sector by increasing funding for Creative Europe
  • Creating an ad hoc financial instrument under the European Investment Fund to channel funds to the sector

During a discussion with the culture Committee on 4 May, Commissioners Gabriel and Breton told MEPs that an EU support plan for the cultural and creative sectors was being prepared, within the scope of the larger EU recovery plan. In addition to the EU increasing the flexibility of current programmes and structural funds, direct support measures are also under consideration.

The Commission also supported the launch of a new platform - Creatives Unite - a space for the cultural and creative sector to share information about initiatives responding to the coronavirus crisis.