Cultural and creative sectors facing ‘common challenges’

The creative Europe programme will pump €1.5bn of sorely needed funding into the EU’s cultural and media sectors, writes Silvia-Adriana Ţicău.

Last November MEPs adopted in Strasbourg the position on the proposal for a regulation of the European parliament and of the council on ‘creative Europe’.

Creative Europe brings together and continues the Culture, MEDIA and MEDIA Mundus programmes. These programmes play a very important role in protecting and promoting Europe’s cultural and linguistic diversity and are relevant for the needs of the cultural and creative sectors.

Various independent studies, in particular the study on the entrepreneurial dimension of cultural and creative industries, show that the cultural and creative sectors are facing common challenges, namely the rapid change caused by the digital shift and globalisation, market fragmentation relating to linguistic diversity, difficulties in accessing finance, complex administrative procedures and a shortage of comparable data, which all require action at union level.

Globalisation, digitisation, market fragmentation, a wider audience and access to credit: these are the challenges that creative Europe faces with the aim of supporting a sector that accounts for seven per cent of European GDP, employs nearly eight million people and involves one million businesses. Creative and cultural sectors have an important contribution in the field of employment and economic growth.

As parliament’s industry, research and energy committee rapporteur, I have supported the introduction of new specific objectives for the programme, which strengthens its components as they relate to the cultural and creative sectors to globalisation and digitisation. [pullquote]The digitisation of cultural and creative sectors products and economic opportunities is a prerequisite for the future development of Europe’s cultural and creative capacities[/pullquote].

Digitisation of cinemas has been an ongoing issue for many small cinema operators, particularly single-screen operators, due to the high costs of the digital equipment. While the member states have primary competence for culture and should therefore continue to address that issue at national, regional and local level, as appropriate, there is a potential for financing from union programmes and funds, in particular those aimed at local and regional development.

The online accessibility of cultural material will enable citizens across Europe to benefit from it. It requires a partnership between the public and private sectors to create new ways of funding. I have asked for improving legal online offers in order to encourage artistic creation and protect copyright and clear budget allocation for each of the three components of the programme.

Bringing together the current programmes of MEDIA, Culture and MEDIA Mundus, as well as the cultural and creative sectors, in one comprehensive programme effectively assists SMEs, micro-organisations and larger organisations in their efforts to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the transition to the digital age and globalisation and help them address the issues that currently lead to market fragmentation. To be effective, the programme takes into account the specific nature of different sectors, different target groups and needs of each characteristic, including adapted approaches for sub-environments and sub-cultures, as well as a cross-sectorial component.

The financial envelope for the implementation of the programme for the period 2014- 2020 is €1.5bn. The package allocates at least 56 per cent of the funding for MEDIA, 31 per cent for Culture and a maximum of 13 per cent for the cross-sectorial section, with at least four per cent being allocated to transnational cooperation measures and offices for creative Europe.