Digi-tech shift set to revolutionise cultural policy

With new technologies transforming Europe's cultural sector, the EU is looking to assist member states in taking up the digital challenge.

By Julie Levy-Abegnoli

24 Dec 2015

Every two years, key actors from the creative industries gather in Brussels for the European culture forum, organised by the European Commission. They debate European cultural policy, take stock of the European agenda for culture, and discuss the ways in which culture can contribute to the Commission's priorities, such as boosting employment and implementing the digital single market. 

The forum was scheduled to take place at the end of November this year, but was cancelled in the midst of the heightened terror alert that paralysed the Belgian capital.

Education, culture, youth and sport Commissioner Tibor Navracsics was due to deliver the event's opening address. Back in January, he told this magazine; "My ambition is to ensure that one of Europe's great strengths - its cultural and creative industries - can blossom and thrive in the digital world. The internet revolution has swept away business models, concentrated economic power and challenged the notion of intellectual property."


"Out of this breath-taking disruption emerges a tough question: how does cultural diversity thrive in a globalising digital world? Of course, this new world also brings fresh opportunity. Costs of production and distribution are falling, reaching bigger audiences is easier and new technologies open up new forms of art and performance."

"Many would argue we are living in a golden age where European design, fashion, writing, media, film and festivals are leading the way. And I would agree. But many of our creators will not reach their full potential without various forms of public support."

"This is where I believe the EU can make a difference. I want to argue for a modernised and effective copyright regime, fi t for the digital age."

"This means that artists and other creators are fairly remunerated and cultural diversity is protected, while we expand cross-border access to culture and education."

The Commission has since announced that it will come forward with proposals for updated copyright rules next year.

Although culture is not an EU competence, the Commission says its role is to help member states address common challenges, "such as the impact of the digital shift, changing models of cultural governance, and the need to support the innovation potential of the cultural and creative sectors."

Additionally, in December last year, EU culture ministers adopted a 2015- 2018 work plan for culture, setting out priorities for European cooperation in cultural policymaking. 

These cover accessible and inclusive culture, cultural heritage, cultural and creative sectors and the creative economy, and promoting cultural diversity, culture in EU external relations and mobility.


Read the most recent articles written by Julie Levy-Abegnoli - MEPs vote against beginning negotiations on updating EU copyright laws