Brussels, 5th May 2020

Updated 12 May: the letter has now been signed by 82 organisations, see latest letter here: Joint call for ambitious EU budgetary measures for culture 07.05.pdf

Time to put words into action! 

Europe’s cultural and creative sectors were among the first and hardest hit by the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.They will also be among the last. Across Europe, almost all cultural activities have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely, while venues and retailers have closed with disastrous consequences for all creators’ and cultural and creative professionals’ livelihoods, as well as the ecosystem as a whole. Millions of jobs are on the line. 

In its Resolution on how to combat the COVID-19 crisis and its consequences[1], the European Parliament rightly underlines that the cultural and creative sectors “have been hit especially hard by the fallout from the COVID-19” and “calls for the EU and the Member States to provide support to the cultural and creative sectors as they play an important role for our economy and our social life and are severely affected by the current crisis”. Commissioners, Ministers and MEPs are also regularly stressing the vital importance of protecting and supporting the cultural ecosystem and creators all over Europe, to ensure that they can continue to create  and invest – for the enjoyment of all Europeans, both during and after the crisis.

So far, the EU has provided much-needed financial support to Member States to protect jobs, workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic,but has failed to adequately address the specific needs of our sectors. The Cultural and Creative Sectors, which stand at €509bn in value added to GDP and over 12 million full-time jobs (7.5 % of the EU’s work force), must be considered as priority sectors and benefit from ambitious budgetary measures. Only a limited number of countries have introduced broad furlough compensation schemes while the majority of professionals working in the cultural and creative sectors were put on unpaid leave as very few employers have the means to continue paying salaries or compensation without state support. In addition, our sectors have a much higher than average percentage of self-employed workers with little to no access to social benefits who find themselves in extremely precarious situations as they are left without resources.

As the European Commission is due to propose a new long-term EU budget and recovery plan, it is now time to put words into action. The undersigned organisations from across Europe’s cultural and creative sectors are calling on the EU: 

  • To propose an ambitious budget for the future Creative Europe Programme 2021-2027 – the only EU framework Programme specifically dedicated to the cultural and creative sectors – which represents today a mere 0.15% of the overall EU Budget. The European Parliament’s proposal for a budget of €2.8bn should be considered the absolute minimum for a Programme commensurate with the sector’s contribution to the EU economy and wellbeing, and with its needs and challenges in these times of crisis.
  • To ensure that the cultural and creative sectors, are included as priority sectors in the EU’s planned Recovery Fund, with sector specific funding. Our sectors are among the hardest hit, and our interconnected value-chains are fragile – if they are to get through the crisis, especially SMEs, urgent support is needed, including liquidity/cash flow measures leading into 2021.
  • Boosting the EU’s loan guarantee facility for the cultural and creative sectors under the future InvestEU programme, with increased budget, guarantees and flexibility. Loan guarantee instruments have a demonstrated trigger effect on investment, which is urgently needed in these difficult economic times. 
  • To secure a strong budget for Horizon Europe’s new cluster “culture, creativity and inclusive society”. In light of their innovation-driven and risk-taking nature, Europe’s cultural and creative sectors should benefit from a strong budget under Horizon Europe. 
  • To ensure that EU funds, notably structural funds, reach the cultural and creative sectors swiftly and effectively. 
  • To ensure that a meaningful part of the EU funding is also deployed to support the livelihood of creators, creative workers and freelancers throughout this unprecedented crisis.

In these hard times, as the contribution of Europe’s cultural and creative sectors to the social, economic and artistic development of Europe couldn’t be more tangible, yet our sectors find themselves in danger of partial collapse, it is more important than ever to preserve and support Europe’s arts, culture and heritage and the values they promote. 

Investing in our culture is investing in our future. Now is the time to turn words into concrete measures. 

[1]European Parliament resolution of 17 April 2020 on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences (2020/2616(RSP))


  1. ACT- Association of Commercial Television in Europe
  2. AEC- Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen
  3. AEPO-ARTIS- Association of European Performers’ Organisations
  5. CAE- Culture Action Europe
  6. CEATL- The Council of European Literary Translator Associations
  7. CEPI- European Audiovisual Production
  8. CEPIC- Centre of the Picture Industry
  9. CICAE – International Confederation of Arthouse Cinemas 
  10. CIRCOSTRADA – European Network for Circus & Street Arts 
  11. ECA – European Choral Association – Europa Cantat
  12. ECCD – The European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity 
  13. ECSA – European Composer and Songwriter Alliance 
  14. EDN- European Dancehouse Network
  15. EFA- European Festivals Association
  16. EFFORTS- European federation of fortified sites
  17. EFJ- The European Federation of Journalists
  18. EFNYO- On behalf of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras
  19. EFP- European Film Promotion
  20. EHTTA- European Historic Thermal Towns Association
  21. EI- Europa International
  22. EIBF- European and International Booksellers
  23. EJN- Europe Jazz Network
  24. ELIA- globally connected European network of higher arts education
  25. EMC- European Music Council
  26. EMCY- European Union of Music Competitions for Youth
  27. EMEE- European Music Exporters Exchange
  28. EMU- European Music School Union
  29. ENCATC- The European network on cultural management and policy
  30. ENCC- European Network of Cultural Centres
  31. EOFed- European Orchestra Federation
  32. ERIH- The European Route of Industrial Heritage
  33. ESNS- Eurosonic Noorderslag
  34. EuroCinema
  35. Europa Cinémas
  36. Europa Distribution – The European Network of Independent Film Publishers and Distributors
  37. Europavox
  38. Eurozine- European network of cultural journals
  39. EVA- European Visual Artists
  40. FEDEC- European Federation for Professional Circus Schools
  41. FEP – Federation of European Publishers 
  42. FERA- Federation of European Film Directors 
  43. FIA – International Federation of Actors
  44. FIAD- The International Federation of Film Distributors’ Associations
  45. FIAPF- International Federation of Film Producers Associations
  46. FIM- International Federation of Musicians
  47. FSE-Federation of Screenwriters in Europe
  48. GESAC – European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers 
  49. IAMIC – International Association of Music Information Centres 
  50. IAO – International Artist Organisation of Music
  51. ICMP- The Global Voice of Music Publishing
  52. IETM- International network for contemporary performing arts
  53. IFPI- International Federation of the Phonographic Industry
  54. IFRRO – International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations
  55. IGCAT – International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism
  56. IMMF – International Music Managers Forum
  57. IMPALA – Independent music companies association 
  58. IMPF – Independent Music Publishers International Forum 
  59. IMZ – International Music + Media Centre
  60. IN SITU – European platform for artistic creation in public space
  61. ISFE- The Interactive Software Federation of Europe
  62. IVF- International Video Federation
  63. JM International
  64. KEA European Affairs
  65. Live DMA – European network for music venues, clubs and festivals
  66. Liveurope – the platform for new European talent
  67. MCA – Michael Culture Association: European Trans-Domain Network for Promotion & Valorization of Digital Cultural Content
  68. NEMO- The Network of European Museum Organisations
  69. On the Move
  70. REMA- the European Early Music Network
  71. Res Artis – Worldwide Network of Arts Residencies
  72. SAA- Society of Audiovisual Authors
  73. SHAPE- Sound, Heterogeneous Art and Performance in Europe
  74. Sistema Europe- The Sistema Europe Association
  75. Trans Europe Halles
  76. UNI MEI – UNI global union – media, entertainment & arts
  77. UNIC- International Union of Cinemas
  78. Yourope- The European Festival Association

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

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