Europe’s cultural and creative sectors statement: Covid-19

Europe’s cultural and creative sectors call for ambitious EU budgetary measures to get through the COVID-19 crisis

Time to put words into action!

Europe’s cultural and creative sectors were among the first and hardest hit by the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. They will also be among the last. Across Europe, almost all cultural activities have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely, while venues and retailers have closed with disastrous consequences for all creators’ and cultural and creative professionals’ livelihoods, as well as the ecosystem as a whole. Millions of jobs are on the line.

In its Resolution on how to combat the COVID-19 crisis and its consequences, the European Parliament rightly underlines that the cultural and creative sectors “have been hit especially hard by the fallout from the COVID-19” and “calls for the EU and the Member States to provide support to the cultural and creative sectors as they play an important role for our economy and our social life and are severely affected by the current crisis”.

Commissioners, Ministers and MEPs are also regularly stressing the vital importance of protecting and supporting the cultural ecosystem and creators all over Europe, to ensure that they can continue to create and invest – for the enjoyment of all Europeans, both during and after the crisis.

So far, the EU has provided much-needed financial support to Member States to protect jobs, workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but has failed to adequately address the specific needs of our sectors. The Cultural and Creative Sectors, which stand at €509bn in value added to GDP and over 12 million full-time jobs (7.5 % of the EU’s work force), must be considered as priority sectors and benefit from ambitious budgetary measures. Only a limited number of countries have introduced broad furlough compensation schemes while the majority of professionals working in the cultural and creative sectors were put on unpaid leave as very few employers have the means to continue paying salaries or compensation without state support. In addition, our sectors have a much higher than average percentage of self-employed workers with little to no access to social benefits who find themselves in extremely precarious situations as they are left without resources.

As the European Commission is due to propose a new long-term EU budget and recovery plan, it is now time to put words into action. The undersigned organisations from across Europe’s cultural and creative sectors are calling on the EU:

  • To propose an ambitious budget for the future Creative Europe Programme 2021-2027 – the only EU framework Programme specifically dedicated to the cultural and creative sectors – which represents today a mere 0.15% of the overall EU Budget. The European Parliament’s proposal for a budget of €2.8bn should be considered the absolute minimum for a Programme commensurate with the sector’s contribution to the EU economy and wellbeing, and with its needs and challenges in these times of crisis.
  • To ensure that the cultural and creative sectors, are included as priority sectors in the EU’s planned Recovery Fund, with sector specific funding. Our sectors are among the hardest hit, and our intercon- nected value-chains are fragile – if they are to get through the crisis, especially SMEs, urgent support is needed, including liquidity/cash flow measures leading into 2021.
  • Boosting the EU’s loan guarantee facility for the cultural and creative sectors under the future Invest EU programme, with increased budget, guarantees and flexibility. Loan guarantee instruments have a demonstrated trigger effect on investment, which is urgently needed in these difficult economic times.
  • To secure a strong budget for Horizon Europe’s new cluster “culture, creativity and inclusive society”. In light of their innovation-driven and risk-taking nature, Europe’s cultural and creative sectors should benefit from a strong budget under Horizon Europe.
  • To ensure that EU funds, notably structural funds, reach the cultural and creative sectors swiftly and effectively.


  • To ensure that a meaningful part of the EU funding is also deployed to support the livelihood of creators, creative workers and freelancers throughout this unprecedented crisis.

In these hard times, as the contribution of Europe’s cultural and creative sectors to the social, economic and artistic development of Europe couldn’t be more tangible, yet our sectors find themselves in danger of partial collapse, it is more important than ever to preserve and support Europe’s arts, culture and heritage and the values they promote.

Investing in our culture is investing in our future. Now is the time to turn words into concrete measures.


ACT – Association of Commercial Television in Europe
AEC – Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen AEPO-ARTIS – Association of European Performers’ Organisations
CAE – Culture Action Europe
CEATL – The Council of European Literary Translator Associations
CEPI – European Audiovisual Production
CEPIC – Centre of the Picture Industry
CICAE – International Confederation of Arthouse Cinemas
CIRCOSTRADA – European Network for Circus & Street Arts
ECA – European Choral Association – Europa Cantat
ECCD – The European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity
ECSA – European Composer and Songwriter Alliance
EDN – European Dancehouse Network
EFA – European Festivals Association
EFFORTS – European federation of fortified sites
EFJ – The European Federation of Journalists
EFNYO – On behalf of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras
EFP – European Film Promotion
EHTTA – European Historic Thermal Towns Association
EI – Europa International
EIBF – European and International Booksellers
ELIA – globally connected European network of higher arts education
EMC – European Music Council
EMCY – European Union of Music Competitions for Youth
EMEE – European Music Exporters Exchange
EMU – European Music School Union
ENCATC – The European network on cultural management and policy
ENCC – European Network of Cultural Centres
EOFed – European Orchestra Federation
ERIH – The European Route of Industrial Heritage EuroCinema
Europa Cinémas
Eurozine – European network of cultural journals
EVA – European Visual Artists
FEDEC – European Federation for Professional Circus Schools
FEP – Federation of European Publishers
FERA – Federation of European Film Directors
FIA – International Federation of Actors
FIAPF – International Federation of Film Producers Associations
FIM – International Federation of Musicians
FSE – Federation of Screenwriters in Europe
GESAC – The European Authors’ Societies
IAO – International Artist Organisation of Music
ICMP – The Global Voice of Music Publishing
IETM – International network for contemporary performing arts
IFPI – International Federation of the Phonographic Industry
IFRRO – International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations IGCAT – International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism IMMF – International Music Managers Forum
IMPALA – Independent music companies association
IMPF – Independent Music Publishers International Forum
IN SITU – European platform for artistic creation in public space
ISFE – The Interactive Software Federation of Europe
IVF – International Video Federation
JM International
KEA European Affairs
Live DMA – European network for music venues, clubs and festivals Liveurope – the platform for new European talent
Michael Culture
NEMO – The Network of European Museum Organisations
On the Move
REMA – the European Early Music Network
Res Artis – Worldwide Network of Arts Residencies
SAA – Society of Audiovisual Authors
SHAPE – Sound, Heterogeneous Art and Performance in Europe Sistema Europe – The Sistema Europe Association
UNI MEI – UNI global union – media, entertainment & arts UNIC – International Union of Cinemas
Yourope – The European Festival Association


The statement is available for download here: Europe’s cultural and creative sectors: Covid-19 statement