In light of the approaching end of the current budgetary period of the European Union (EU), negotiations on the so-called Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) have taken place for a few months already. As customary, the MFF will cover a seven-year term from 2021 to 2027.
The European Parliament recommended a significant increase of nearly 17% on top of the 1,134 billion Euros that had been originally proposed by the European Commission.
This would equal an overall envelop of around 1,324 billion.
The Council of the European Union, the third institutional actor involved, where Member States are represented, is the one that would give its final say to the proposed budget. Under the Finnish rotating Presidency (which will end on 31st December), the Council has proposed a way less ambitious budget of 1,087 billion Euros that has been discussed during the European Council meeting of 12-13 December by Heads of State and Government.
The resolution proposal as submitted by the Council provides substantial overall cuts which are in particular affecting the cultural sector. We note that with great concern.
The budget level for the upcoming 7 years is not only almost 10% below the budget of the current MFF, it moreover provides massive cuts compared to the EU Parliament's proposal for Erasmus+ (minus 48%) and Creative Europe (minus 53%) funding programmes, which are by far the most important for the cultural sector in Europe. This is despite the fact that, unlike in the past, these two funding programs will in future also be used to fund activities that are clearly beyond the cultural field in a narrow sense.
In joint action with other representatives of the sector, AEC will do its best to prevent us from a decision-making which is highly detrimental to the arts and higher art education.
However, since the ball is now in the field of Member States of the EU, it is crucial to support these efforts also at the national level. We therefore call on all AEC members to seek contact with your national political decision-makers in order to make them raise their voices in favor of culture, arts and higher art education!
Erasmus+ and Creative Europe have never been more important than in these times!