PES President urges Commission to support cultural and creative industries


Sergei Stanishev

A security guard poses in front of Pablo Picasso's masterpiece Guernica at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid amid a national lockdown to fight the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. Source: AFP.

Ahead of an online meeting of Culture ministers tomorrow, the President of the Party of European Socialists (PES) has written to the President of the European Commission to urge her to put Europe’s cultural and creative industries at the core of the recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

Sergei Stanishev wrote to Ursula von der Leyen to draw attention to the risks facing the sector, which is a major employer and contributor to the Union’s economy.

COVID-19 has forced the closure of bookshops, museums, cinemas, film sets, concert halls and festivals, leaving cultural and creative industries paralysed. Plummeting advertising revenue is threatening media outlets. Without strong EU action, they may never recover.

The letter urges the Commission to act to ensure the sector’s immediate survival:

“I join Culture Action Europe in calling for flexibility within the Creative Europe programme, to ensure that businesses and freelancers do not bear the costs of cancelled events. Secondly, the Commission must do its utmost to ensure that workers remain protected even when professional activities are suspended. Freelancers and artists are often ineligible for support schemes, so the Commission should consider reallocating funding to individual creators.”

As part of its plan to contain the COVID-19 shock and recover, the PES has proposed measures to rebuild our economies. Member States must have the flexibility to support businesses, especially those active in the cultural and creative industries. It is vital that these sectors are not forgotten in the Commission’s Recovery Plan, nor in the next Multiannual Financial Framework.

In order to focus attention on the difficulties the culture sector faces during this crisis, the PES is establishing ministerial networks to facilitate discussion and a common approach towards supporting Europe’s cultural and creative industries.

The full letter from Sergei Stanishev can be read in full here