AEPO-ARTIS writes an open letter to the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo

With start of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, AEPO-ARTIS has addressed an open letter to the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo with the aim of emphasizing the importance of culture and promoting the improvement of performers’ rights, in accordance with the priorities during this presidency involving cultural and creative sectors.


Dear Prime Minister of Belgium, 

Dear Mr. De Croo,

Last week Belgium officially took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. And so, for the next six months you will be leading the rest of the European Union in taking the most important decisions that need to be taken.

AEPO-ARTIS and the large community of performers we represent would like to thank you for giving culture, and the artist in particular, an important place in the objectives of your Presidency.

AEPO-ARTIS is a non-profit making organisation that represents 39 European performers’ collective management organisations from 29 different countries, including the Belgian organisation PlayRight. The number of performers, from the audio and audiovisual sector, represented by our members is estimated at more than 650.000.

When we look at the programme for the upcoming Presidency, we are pleased to read that the Belgian Presidency will “stimulate the digital transformation of the cultural and creative sectors” and “shed a light on the working conditions of artists and creative professionals”. It is important that the Council joins the call from the Parliament in its November Resolution on the matter to request the Commission to include in its political priorities for 2024-2029 the improvement of working and living conditions and fair remuneration in the CCS.

In this resolution the Parliament put emphasis on the concept of fair remuneration, in particular the right to appropriate and proportionate remuneration which was granted to performers in the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive 2019/790.

In this respect we are delighted to read that the Belgian Presidency will “facilitate the exchange of best practices among member states regarding the implementation of the copyright directive in the Digital Single Market.

With the law of 16 June 2022 you implemented the directive effectively, which unfortunately many others have not. We are sure that the Belgian initiative will provide a good framework for both the exchange of best practices and the monitoring assignment that the Commission must carry out under the Belgian presidency.

The sharing of such experiences is currently of great importance for the EU candidate member states. When the Belgian Presidency is “committed to support candidate countries in their efforts to join our Union”, we hope that you will ensure that these countries receive the necessary support to make our Union a safe workplace for their artists too.

Finally, we are looking forward to how Belgium will “prepare the positions of the EU and its Member States regarding various issues being discussed within the World Intellectual Property Organisation”.

A first important issue is the 2012 Beijing Treaty. Twelve years have already elapsed since this treaty was signed, with the intention of granting actors much needed and long overdue protection. Nevertheless, the EU has still not ratified the treaty. We sincerely hope that your Presidency will be the one that changes this and gives actors the support they deserve.

Furthermore, at the upcoming 45th Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, the topic of fair remuneration in the music and audiovisual sector will also need stronger and more outspoken support from the EU. It is time that WIPO finally takes this to heart, especially now that their agenda has been expanded to include artificial intelligence.

As the Belgian Presidency will “strive to finalise any remaining work on the AI Act”, it is important to guarantee that a good balance is found between the promotion of a European artificial intelligence industry and its respect of the copyright in the works they use to train their machines. Fair remuneration for all stakeholders in the cultural and creative industries, including our performers, should be one of the main objectives of any policy in this regard.

We know it will be difficult to tick off all the goals of the very ambitious program by June 30. This is especially true with the elections that will take place in Europe and also in Belgium. We know that we can count on you to ensure that the Belgian Presidency will keep the focus on what is important, including our European culture and the protection of those who are the face of that culture, our performers.

Please know that AEPO-ARTIS will always be available to provide any assistance possible. We have members in almost every EU Member State and through this network we can facilitate the collection and dissemination of information on any matters relating to performers.

On behalf of every performer whose work you have ever appreciated. Most respectfully,


General-Secretary AEPO-ARTIS