Committee guide | CULT: Europe needs 'dedicated' cultural space

The EU must adequately support its cultural and educational sectors through dedicated funding, argues Silvia Costa.

By Desmond Hinton-Beales

17 Oct 2014

Silvia Costa is certain about one thing, she is expecting the EU to "set clear goals for cultural policy". As chair of parliament's culture and education (CULT) committee, Costa feels Europe is facing a number of key issues. The Italian MEP, who first joined parliament in 2009, highlights "the quality of education systems, policies for youth, cultural heritage and its promotion, and cultural content on the internet" as major areas in which CULT will be working. In a bid to meet these challenges, Costa underlines parliament's moves towards a "horizontal approach, spanning cultural policies, research and unity, that will be reiterated and emphasised at the next review of the Europe 2020 strategy".

"We want to stay as a permanent European commission discussion partner on all matters to do with policies on culture, creativity and the audio-visual sector"

Emphasising parliament's role as a co-legislator, the S&D deputy says that CULT "will be asking members of the commission", as part of the review of the audio-visual media services directive, "to make a specific commitment in favour of action regarding VAT on eBooks" and "for a directive on eCommerce and copyright". Costa also says she will be pushing for "making the obstacles to and conditions imposed on internet access – as well as the re-launch of Europeana and other European platforms – less arbitrary". "In addition," she says, "a number of emergencies will need to be dealt with: the situation regarding Erasmus funding for 2014 and the years to come and other cuts – to communications, the Europe for Citizens programme, Europeana and Creative Europe – which are expected for 2015." From a personal perspective Costa says she will be calling for the "construction of a dedicated space for culture, information, education and research", as she feels there are "mixed messages from an investment viewpoint".

Asked about her expectations for the incoming Juncker commission, Costa called on commissioner- designate for digital economy and society Günther Oettinger, in view of his "broad portfolio", to make a clear statement that "cultural content which is intended for uploading to the internet is unlike any other". "We expect clear goals to be set for cultural policy," she stresses, "including clarifying the methods of governance, as responsibilities are currently divided up between two commissioners and the audio-visual sector is entirely in the hands of DG Connect, while it should clear that it ought to be handled by the DG for Culture." She also voices her concerns over "the lack of competence in the new commission's tourism sector".

Finally, Costa underlines the importance she places on the CULT committee's involvement in the Europe's future cultural policy. "We want to stay as a permanent European commission discussion partner on all matters to do with policies on culture, creativity and the audio-visual sector," she concludes.

Silvia Costa is chair of parliament's culture and education committee


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