Brussels, 21st May 2014
Cultural diversity is at the heart of what the EU is: a union of different cultures, different languages, different lifestyles. Culture is one of Europe's main assets – a social asset through its inherent value, but also an economic asset through its contribution to jobs, growth and trade. The cultural and creative sectors are crucial to the European economy, producing faster than average growth and accounting for 4,5% of the EU's GDP and 8,5 million jobs. They are also a key element of the EU's soft power on the international stage.
Helen Smith said: "It is essential to Europe’s future strategy to promote cultural diversity at all levels. This involves a framework that creates a level playing field that would stretch from delivering a fair fiscal environment, through shoring up copyright, to stopping the type of abuse we are seeing today with dominant players in the online market."
By ratifying the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in 2006, the EU committed to protect and promote equitable access to the means of creating and distributing cultural expressions and to take culture into account in all its policies.
99% of Europe's cultural operators are micro, small and medium sized. They are the backbone of the sector, providing the necessary elements to develop a sustainable economy of diversity: cultural diversity, diversity of choice and diversity of entrepreneurship. In the music sector, independents are world leaders in terms of innovation and discovering new music and artists - they produce more than 80% of all new releases, and thus have a key role in sustaining diversity in music.
The real challenge today is to deliver an online environment where diversity and smaller actors flourish and which is fiscally fair. We can see how the power of individual players is a barrier to that in many areas such as competition, tax, and data protection.
We look to Europe to lead by example and set the ground rules for a diverse, inclusive and fair online environment.
On EU Competition Day, IMPALA called for a new competition approach to help achieve these goals: http://www.impalamusic.org/node/322
As the EU is starting a mid-term review of its EU 2020 strategy, now is the time to act. IMPALA urges the EU to put culture where it belongs, at the heart of its policies.