A lot has happened since the summer: a new EU Commissioner for Culture, cuts in the Creative Europe 2024 budget, a report on the implementation of the Creative Europe programme since 2021,the response from the Commission regarding our concern about the instrumentalisation of the STEAM acronym in some Horizon calls for projects, and appointment of our CEO as the delegate to the EIT Culture & Creativity Policy Club!

  • Hearing of Commissioner-candidate Iliana Ivanova in the European Parliament

Since 19 September, Iliana Ivanova is the new Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth following Mariya Gabriel who resigned in May to become Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister of Bulgaria. During a three-hour hearing that took place with the European Parliament Committees for Culture and Education (CULT) and Industry and Research (ITRE) on 5 September, she was able to convince that she can also do culture. In her introductory speech, Commissioner-designate Iliana Ivanova presented her priorities to invest in research and innovation in the EU, boosting skills, promoting the cohesive role of culture and empowering youth.

Iliana Ivanova is a known figure in Brussels. She was a member of the European Parliament as well as the European Court of Auditors for many years. In a meeting of the European Parliament, the proposal of the two committees was finally confirmed by an overwhelming majority to entrust her the office as the new Commissioner for Innovation, research, culture, education and youth. We wish her all the best for her new task and hope for good cooperation.

  • Creative Europe budget cuts for 2024

One of the topics on which Iliana Ivanova was asked to comment in the hearing at the European Parliament was the suggested cuts in the budget for the Creative Europe funding programme by 40 million € for 2024. It became evident that the new Commissioner did not agree with these cuts. Basically, she fully joined the criticism which was also put forward by AEC among others that the budget of the Creative Europe Programme should actually be increased, not decreased, because otherwise the tasks assigned to the cultural sector cannot be fulfilled. She also mentioned the drastically increasing demand caused by the pandemic, which is also reflected in the huge amount of applications that have been submitted by small size and independently operating initiatives from the field of art and culture – a development that in her eyes “is a sign of both success and insufficient funding”.

The AEC is among 70 networks and cultural organisations that have signed a joint letter expressing their deep concern about the Council’s position on the draft budget 2024 which proposes to cut the Creative Europe programme by 40 million Euro.


  • Draft report on the implementation of Creative Europe 2021-2027

Apart from the proposed cuts to the annual budget for 2024, Creative Europe also made news with a draft mid-term report which was published by the CULT Committee. The report, presented at the end of August by rapporteur Massimiliano Smeriglio, covers so far only the years 2021 and 2022, but comes to a positive conclusion overall. The CULT Committee concludes that the innovations implemented in 2021 have proven to be a resounding success. This applies both to the content (measures to support the cultural and creative sector’s recovery from the effects of COVID-19, strengthening inclusion, gender equality, digitisation and sustainability), as well as to administrative facilitations such as the introduction of a lump-sum principle in the management of projects.

Like other players in the sector who were consulted in the course of preparing the report, AEC does not see the situation quite so positively. Above all, however, it has to be pointed out that the suggested cuts are all the more difficult to understand in view of the positive basic tendency of the report.


  • More news on AEC’s involvement in advocacy

In the May newsletter, we reported in an open letter that the AEC, together with other European organisations active in the field, had addressed those responsible for the design of the Horizon Programme of the European Union. In this letter, we expressed our surprise at the instrumentalisation of the STEAM acronym in some Horizon Calls for the purpose of increasing the proportion of female students in technical subjects. The topic as such is certainly honourable. However, we had expressed our concern that the accompanying reinforcement of gender stereotypes is not really helpful in promoting either the technical subjects or the arts.

At the end of August, we finally received an answer from the responsible department of DG EAC, which can be roughly interpreted as follows: They will not change anything in the calls that have already been announced, but want to consider the concerns we have raised in the future. Moreover, they express their gratitude that we point to the issue which they were not aware about so far.

Last but not least, we want to share the news with our readers that AEC Chief Executive Stefan Gies has been appointed as a delegate to the EIT Culture & Creativity Policy Club. The European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) is a network set up by the European Union to promote synergies between technological developments and creative work.