As the new European Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen has been approved on 27 November and is now set to be inaugurated on 1st December – one month later than initially foreseen – AEC has joined fellow organizations active in the cultural and education field to make the voice of the sectors heard with clear pledges on the priorities for the years ahead.
The first months of the new Commission will coincide with the most crucial negotiations on the future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the European Union’s long-term budget 2021/2027, setting the scene for EU spending for different areas of activity, among which – for example – Erasmus+ and Creative Europe. We have joined forces with nearly 90 organizations from the cultural and creative sectors to call on the leaders of the Member States, which will soon meet in the European Council, to support the European Parliament’s proposed doubled budget for the Creative Europe Programme, the only EU funding scheme dedicated to cultural and creative sectors.
Today, Creative Europe represents a mere 0,15% of the overall EU Budget. This is by no means proportionate to the sectors’ contribution to the EU economy, which stands at €509bn in value added to GDP and over 12 million full-time jobs (7.5 % of the EU’s work force). The contribution of Europe’s cultural and creative sectors to the social, economic and artistic development of Europe fully justifies the added value of EU investment in culture. This is why we welcome the European Parliament's proposal to increase the Creative Europe budget to €2.8 billion and we hope that the European Council will support this much-needed boost to the future of Europe’s arts, culture and heritage, and the values they promote.
In this developing institutional framework, we are happy that the online petition “Bring Culture Back” initiated by Culture Action Europe, a network AEC is part of, has paid off. After the Italian government, joined by many others, formally backed the request to review the job title of Commissioner Mariya Gabriel (which was limited to “Innovation and Youth”), it has been recently announced by Ursula von der Leyen that Culture will be back in the name of the portfolio together with Education and Research. This is also a clear sign in strengthening ties between education and research and in creating a true “Europe of Knowledge”.
Earlier this month, we have also released an AEC statement addressed to EU Ministers of Education and Finance, which for the first time ever held a joint policy debate discussing effective and high-quality education as keys “to achieve a strong economic base for Europe”. As representatives of higher art education and the arts, we are aware of our responsibilities and contribution to the European economic development through the creative sector.
However, we also believe that the arts and art education are essential for personal and societal development and thus to enable future generations to fulfil their role as responsible European citizens. Against this backdrop, we urged Ministers to recognise the vital role of the arts and humanities in understanding the society and the world around us.