Brussels, 19 March 2021,

IMPALA is among more than 110 signatories of the following letter addressed to EU leaders. 



Heads of State and Government, Ministers for European Affairs, Ministers for Finance, Ministers for Culture

President of the European Commission, President of the European Parliament, President of the Council of the EU, European Commissioners

As a powerful vector for the future of Europe and a key asset for the continent’s social, environmental, and economic sustainability, culture is more than a sector that needs urgent support. Culture is key to healing wounds in times of crisis, to keeping our societies together, and to making them more resilient. For these reasons, we believe it should be at the heart of Europe’s recovery from the pandemic.

Ensuring that culture is explicitly included in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) will help secure both the future of the sector and its important contribution to Europe’s future.

Following the formal adoption of the regulation establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) in February and the rollout of the vaccination campaign across Europe, the EU is readying itself to reopen and recover. The European cultural community, however, cannot share the enthusiasm, for we do not yet see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Only one other sector – air transport – has suffered the same economic impact as the cultural and creative sectors, which experienced a 31% drop in turnover in 2020 (in some sub-sectors up to 90%), more than tourism and the automotive industry. (EY, “Rebuilding Europe. The cultural and creative economy before and after the COVID-19 crisis”, January 2021).

With cultural activities still halted, cultural venues and heritage sites remaining closed, cross-border cultural exchanges stalled, millions of jobs frozen or wiped out, and many talents forced to leave the sector, 2021 promises to be another trying year.

We, 110+ representatives of the multifaceted European cultural ecosystem, call on the Member States and the European Commission to secure a future for culture and cultural life in Europe. One year after the breakout of the pandemic, we have the opportunity to carefully evaluate safe reopenings
and a potential first step in the sector’s recovery.

We ask the Member States to reactivate cultural life in Europe, while keeping existing and putting in place new dedicated support schemes far beyond stabilisation of the situation. This will help rebuild confidence of both cultural communities and citizens, ensure a smooth resumption of activities and offer hope to the millions of Europeans whose lives have become barren, devoid of cultural and social connection.

Crucially, by now, the majority of EU countries have presented the drafts of their National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) to the European Commission, starting a time of informal dialogue and exchanges in the weeks to come, before the formal deadline of 30 April.

This is a key moment to fine-tune and validate those plans.

• We reiterate our call made on 30 October 2020 and urge the EU and its Member States to fully include culture in each and every National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), and dedicate, at the very least, 2% of the RRF envelope for culture. We have seen strong political will, as expressed among others by the European Parliament, to put culture as a priority sector when using funds from Next Generation EU. It is now time to translate this commitment in the NRRPs.

• In addition, we call on the Member States to continuously involve and engage the representatives of their cultural communities and civil society organisations in the design and implementation of the NRRPs, as indicated in the European Commission guidelines for the preparation of the national recovery and resilience plans. Long-term structural support to rebuild the European cultural ecosystem needs to be co-developed, involving all relevant stakeholders, both public and private.

Reinvigorating the cultural ecosystem not only offers hope to millions of workers who saw their jobs eradicated or endangered by the pandemic, it can offer new meaning and purpose to all Europeans and the European project.

Let us put culture at the heart of Europe’s recovery.

Amateo | Animation Europe | Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) | Arena Resilience Alliance | Arty Farty |
Association des Centres Culturels de Rencontre (ACCR) | Association Européenne des Conservatoires,
Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen (AEC) | Association of European Performers’ Organisations (AEPOARTIS) | Association of European Radios (AER) | b.creative | Barcelona Festival of Song | Biennale des Jeunes
Créateurs de l’Europe et de la Mediterranée (BJCEM) | Centre Européen de Musique | Centre for Fine Arts
Brussels (BOZAR) | Centre of the Picture Industry (CEPIC) | CineRegio AISBL (regional film & AV funds) |
Circostrada Network | Coalitions Européennes pour la Diversité Culturelle (CEDC) | Confédération internationale
des cinémas d’art et d’essai (CICAE) | Culture Action Europe (CAE) | DE CONCERT ! | Eidgenössischer
Orchesterverband (Switzerland) | ELIA – globally connected European network for higher arts education | ESNS
(Eurosonic Noorderslag) | EU National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) | Eurocinema | Europa Cinemas | Europa
Distribution – The European Network of Independent Film Publishers and Distributors | Europa Nostra | Europavox
| Europe Jazz Network (EJN) | European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF) | European Arenas
Association | European Association of Archaeologists | European Audiovisual Production Association (CEPI) |
European Choral Association – Europa Cantat | European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) | European
Council of Associations of Literary Translators (CEATL) European | Creative Business Network (ECBN) | European
Cultural Foundation (ECF) | European Dancehouse Network (EDN) | European Fashion Heritage Association
(EFHA) | European Federation of Fortified Sites (EFFORTS) | European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) | European
Federation of National Youth Orchestras (EFNYO) | European Federation of Professional Circus Schools (FEDEC) |
European Festivals Association (EFA) | European Folk Network (EFN) | European Games Developer Federation
(EGDF) | European Grouping of Authors’ Societies (GESAC) | European Music Council (EMC) | European Music
Exporters Exchange (EMEE) | European Music School Union (EMU) | European Network for Opera and Dance
Education (RESEO) | European Network on Cultural Management and Policy (ENCATC) | European Orchestra
Federation (EOFed) | European Publishers Council (EPC) | European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH) |
European Theatre Convention (ETC) | European Union of Music Competitions for Youth (EMCY) | European Visual
Artists (EVA) | Europeana Foundation | Europeana Network Association | Eurozine – European Network of Cultural
Journals | Federation of European Publishers/Fédération des éditeurs européens (FEP-FEE) | Federation of
European Screen Directors (FERA) | Federation of Screenwriters in Europe | Freemuse | FIM – International
Federation of Musicians | Future for Religious Heritage (FRH) | Hungarian Composers’ Union | Hungarian Music
Council | IAA Europe | IETM – International network for contemporary performing arts | IMPALA – European
association of independent music companies | IN SITU – European platform for artistic creation in public spaces |
Independent Music Publishers International Forum (IMPF) | Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE) |
International Artist Organisation of Music (IAO) | International Association of Music Information Centres (IAMIC) |
International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP) | International Federation of Actors (FIA) | International
Federation of Film Distributors’ Associations (FIAD) | International Federation of Film Producers Associations
(FIAPF) | International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) | International Federation of Reproduction
Rights Organisations (IFRRO) | International Music + Media Centre (IMZ) | International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) |
International Video Federation (IVF) | Jeunesses Musicales International (JMI) | KIDS Regio | Literature Across
Frontiers (LAF) | Live DMA | Liveurope – the live music platform for new European talent | Michael Culture
Association | NAMM International (National Association of Music Merchants) | NEMO – The Network of European
Museum Organisations | News Media Europe | Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture Secretariat (NDCP) |
On the Move (OTM) | Opera Europa | Pearle* – Live Performance Europe | Polish Music Council (PMC) | REMA –
Early Music in Europe | Res Artis | SEE (South-east European) Heritage Network | Society of Audiovisual Authors
(SAA) | Tenso Network Europe | The European Network of Cultural Centres (ENCC) | The International Association
of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML) | Trans Europe Halles (TEH) | UNI Global Union –
Media, Entertainment & Arts (UNI MEI) | We are Europe | Yourope – The European Festival Association

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

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