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Document 52011AR0401

Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on ‘Creative Europe’

OJ C 277, 13.9.2012, p. 156–163 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

13.9.2012   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 277/156


Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on ‘Creative Europe’

2012/C 277/15

THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS

welcomes ‘Creative Europe’, the new framework programme for the cultural and creative sectors under the 2014-2020 Multi-Annual Financial Framework (1), bringing together the current Culture, MEDIA and MEDIA Mundus programmes under a common framework and creating an entirely new Facility to improve access to finance;

strongly emphasises that culture has an intrinsic value that is independent of the economic aspects of cultural goods and services and the programme’s design must take account of this dual nature by not focussing exclusively on economic usefulness of culture;

is pleased that during the 2014-2020 Multi-Annual Financial Framework, the Commission proposes a significant increase in the budget devoted to the cultural and creative sectors, a total of EUR 1,801 billion, a 37 % increase on current spending levels;

believes that free and independent culture is of fundamental importance in the development of society. It safeguards diversity and freedom of opinion, provides opportunities for participation and provides arenas for critical and independent discussions, which are indispensible for a lively democracy.

Rapporteur

Gábor BIHARY (HU/PES), Member of Budapest General Assembly

Reference document

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Creative Europe Programme

COM(2011) 785 final

I.   THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS

1.

welcomes ‘Creative Europe’, the new framework programme for the cultural and creative sectors under the 2014-2020 Multi-Annual Financial Framework (2), bringing together the current Culture, MEDIA and MEDIA Mundus programmes under a common framework and creating an entirely new Facility to improve access to finance;

2.

strongly emphasises that culture has an intrinsic value that is independent of the economic aspects of cultural goods and services and the programme’s design must take account of this dual nature by not focussing exclusively on economic usefulness of culture;

3.

acknowledges that by bringing culture and media together, the programme can facilitate the distribution of cultural products, create a single online market for audiovisual works and help unlock the job creation potential of the cultural and creative sectors;

4.

approves the efforts to achieve simplification in the framework programme and to develop it as an easily accessible gateway for European cultural and creative professionals, offering scope for activities within and outside the EU;

5.

agrees with the statements in the impact assessments for the current programmes that there are four common problems which will need to be addressed at EU level in order to reach the desired impacts within a single framework programme:

a)

the fragmented market context stemming from Europe’s cultural and linguistic diversity, which at present leads to sub-optimal transnational circulation of works and mobility of artists and professionals, as well as geographical imbalances. It also limits consumer choice and access to European cultural works;

b)

the need for the sectors to adapt to the impact of globalisation and the digital shift, resulting in a concentration of supply among a limited number of major players, posing a threat to cultural and linguistic diversity; the sector would therefore benefit from transnational and transregional approaches and solutions;

c)

the shortage of comparable data on the cultural sector at European and national levels. This has consequences for European policy coordination, which can be a useful driver for national policy developments and systemic change at low cost for the EU budget and in full respect of the principle of subsidiarity;

d)

the difficulties faced by cultural and creative SMEs in accessing finance;

6.

is pleased that by specifically targeting the needs of the cultural and creative sectors aiming to operate beyond national borders, and with a strong link to the promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity, the programme will complement other European Union (EU) programmes such as Structural Fund support for investment in the cultural and creative sectors, heritage restoration, cultural infrastructure and services, digitisation funds for cultural heritage and the enlargement and external relations instruments;

7.

is also pleased that, in addition to the above-mentioned aspects, the programme will build on the experience and success of existing brands such as MEDIA, the European Heritage Label, and the European Capitals of Culture;

8.

is pleased that during the 2014-2020 Multi-Annual Financial Framework, the Commission proposes a significant increase in the budget devoted to the cultural and creative sectors, a total of EUR 1,801 billion, a 37 % increase on current spending levels;

9.

emphasises that this increase is fully in line with the rationale and priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy and its flagship initiatives, since investing in the cultural and creative sectors directly contributes to the Strategy’s aim of promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth; it also facilitates access to finance for SMEs in the cultural and creative sectors;

10.

sees however the need for more precise definitions, especially regarding the legal frame and application criteria of the financial facility;

11.

points out that creative and cultural industries are often micro-enterprises, small and medium-sized businesses and enterprises of self employed workers which require initiative and organisation at a local level. This feature of localisation is a positive aspect for regions because it boosts local economies (creativity fosters economic competitiveness) but also because it helps retain talent and the corresponding jobs at local level. Attention should therefore be given to the particular situation of cultural workers and entrepreneurs;

12.

welcomes the measures proposed to reinforce the cultural sector’s capacity and to promote transnational circulation within and outside Europe, given that cultural diversity may be seen as a source of growth;

13.

agrees that, at a time of financial and economic crisis, culture can play a role in creatively meeting social policy objectives by fostering innovation as a way to achieve social outcomes (3);

14.

feels that culture and art, as well as cultural media and the audiovisual sector, can trigger behavioural changes and have the power to create new social relationships motivating people to use their creative abilities, and that at the same time culture and art can safeguard the values of democratic society;

15.

believes that free and independent culture is of fundamental importance in the development of society. It safeguards diversity and freedom of opinion, provides opportunities for participation and provides arenas for critical and independent discussions, which are indispensible for a lively democracy;

16.

emphasises that throughout the European Union regional and local authorities assume a high level of responsibility in implementing cultural policies, given that they also play a key role in promoting and emphasising culture, especially in connection with protecting cultural heritage and promoting artistic innovation (4). Local and regional authorities also have a particular responsibility to ensure that children and young people can access and take part in an active cultural life;

17.

notes that the Committee has already emphasised that, through their proximity to citizens, local and regional authorities are strategically better placed to respond to the specific needs and requests of different cultural groups within the European Union, as well as to effectively mobilise local and regional communities in support of a better intercultural dialogue (5);

18.

points out that local and regional authorities have successfully integrated cultural and creative industries into their development strategies and that this has helped to boost local economies; in particular, it is possible at the level of local and regional authorities to set up networks and databases of young artists, promote the training of young people in artistic and cultural disciplines, help young artists to become professional, stimulate multimedia and multicultural experimentation, make public spaces available for the work of young artists, encourage the artistic and cultural appreciation of the young audience, support young people in forming associations in the artistic and cultural domain, and foster innovation in local traditions and vocations (6);

19.

emphasises that the audiovisual sector is not just of major importance for development, competitiveness and employment, but is also a crucial sphere that safeguards and promotes local and regional cultural identity and diversity. the nature of the sector also makes it a key factor in the development of European social values and the functioning of democratic societies, since audiovisual works can play an important role in forming a European identity (7);

20.

emphasises that the transition to digital offers new opportunities to connect different regions in Europe as they exchange audiovisual works and explore new ways of creating links and exchanging content. This transition may provide an opportunity to attract new audiences, take advantage of alternative content, provide new services and raise awareness of content from various regions (8);

21.

once again urges the Council and the European Parliament to more strongly emphasise the key role of local and regional authorities in promoting and celebrating the culture of their communities (9) and enhance the participation of regional and local authorities in the Programme;

22.

in this context, underlines the need to ensure the right balance between the allocation of resources for major, large-scale projects and the financing of measures and activities focused at local and regional level;

23.

strongly urges the Council and the European Parliament to give cultural players more of a say in decision-making rather than overemphasising the financial sector in the implementation of the regulation;

24.

recognises that the actions set out in the proposal, as they stand, do not appear to be at odds with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality; stresses, however, that regional and local authorities should be systematically consulted in the conception, implementation and governance of measures designed to ensure financing for cultural and creative industries across Europe;

25.

would like to help ensure maximum awareness of the Creative Europe programme in EU regions, and offers to cooperate on this matter; at the same time, would like to be involved in the process of monitoring the programme;

26.

appreciates the importance of dividing the framework programme into three strands (a cross-sectoral strand, a culture strand and a MEDIA strand) and of the indicative allocation of funding for each strand; at the same time, points out that the programme must be implemented in such a way as to ensure flexible transfers of funding between strands based on needs and experiences;

27.

emphasises the importance of not marginalising the arts and cultural heritage protection in this new structure;

The Cross-sectoral Strand

28.

welcomes the strategic and inclusive approach proposed by the Commission to supporting the development of cultural and creative industries;

29.

emphasises that in order to succeed, integrated development strategies should be defined at the relevant territorial levels, in partnership between authorities in charge of various government policies (such as economic development, employment, education and culture) and representatives from civil society, namely business, employees and citizens’ associations;

30.

underlines the need to investigate which areas and topics constitute regional and local strengths that can be promoted, given that each region has some possibilities which need to be identified: large cities and wealthy regions have the possibility and means to become multi-level poles of creation and attraction; however, smaller and less favoured regions are in a position to make known their cultural abilities to the rest of the world - this particularly applies to peripheral and sparsely populated EU regions;

31.

has already pointed out that there is a real need for more reliable information on the cultural sector in Europe generally (10); therefore welcomes the proposed support measures for market data, studies, anticipation skills and employment tools, evaluations, policy analysis and support for statistical surveys. Nonetheless, the data gathering and analysis to be shared with national and European statistical bodies in order to prevent duplication of sources, costs and data processing should be safeguarded;

32.

underlines that cultural and creative industries are best nurtured in interdisciplinary environments, hence it is recommended to help build new bridges between art, philosophy, science, research and innovation and business;

33.

feels that there is a need to develop real ‘creative partnerships’ between the cultural and creative industries and fields such as education, industry, research or administration, and advocates building effective mechanisms for transferring creative knowledge such as design into other sectors;

The Culture Strand

34.

welcomes the measures proposed to reinforce the cultural sector’s capacity, as well as for promoting cross-border circulation within and outside Europe;

35.

is pleased that in the Culture Strand, the Programme will include a clearer focus than hitherto on capacity-building and transnational circulation, including international touring, new European platforms with a large-scale structuring effect, and more strategic packages of support for literary translation for publishing houses including promotional support;

36.

emphasises that, in the post-crisis economy, culture can play a role in creatively meeting social policy objectives by fostering innovation and experimentation as a way to achieve social outcomes;

37.

welcomes the envisaged support for transnational cultural circulation and underlines the importance of facilitating all connected industries allowing culture to reach its audience, notwithstanding the sometimes unfavourable geographical situation of particular regions and problems related to multilingualism;

38.

emphasises that investments for culture should address both support for individual or collective art production and areas crucial for cultural and creative industries, such as new business models, creativity and innovation, digitisation, skills and improvement of human capital, and creative partnerships with other sectors;

39.

underlines the importance of building private-public initiatives to support artist-led experimentation, which can be effectively used to the mutual benefit of cultural enhancement and business profitability;

40.

affirms that local and regional authorities can play a more effective role in informing local companies about ways and means to promote local and regional cultural activities;

41.

underlines that the private sector often plays an important role in cultural promotion through donations or support in the context of corporate social responsibility; for their part, local and regional authorities could contribute to the creation of a conducive environment for the best use of this support;

42.

underlines the importance of a consistent and medium to long-term approach when planning measures in the field of culture. A good example is the European Capital of Culture (ECoC), where a long-term development strategy helps to promote more sustainable approaches to cultural development, enhance the impact and legacy of the ECOC cities (11), and stress the richness, diversity and shared characteristics of European cultures;

The MEDIA Strand

43.

notes that local and regional authorities can play a key role in promoting local and regional audiovisual works, effectively strengthening audiovisual production and actively contributing to the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue (12);

44.

appreciates the importance of promoting broad international cooperation in the audiovisual sector, with the aim of strengthening both cultural and commercial ties between the European film industry and that of third countries;

45.

agrees that we should address current challenges associated with changes in the international audiovisual sphere, especially as a result of technological developments and structural weaknesses affecting the circulation of European audiovisual works in third-country markets, which are preventing Europe’s audiovisual sector from seizing international opportunities and undermining its competitiveness;

46.

in terms of the broader social relevance of the programme, points out that developing media literacy, combined with adapting teaching methods to the media in schools and beyond, is particularly important for Europe’s future. Adaptation will also involve support for the teaching of new communication technologies, which are vitally important to social and professional integration (13);

47.

reiterates the importance of cinema’s role in building European identity and integrating regions (14);

48.

emphasises that, as a result of the programme, a healthy cultural industry can develop creative partnerships between the cultural sector and other sectors (ICTs, research, tourism, social partners, etc) to reinforce the social and economic impact of investments in culture and creativity (15), in particular with regard to the promotion of growth and jobs and the development and attractiveness of regions and cities;

49.

stresses that more measures must be taken to fully activate the potential of European creative content (16), with the aim of boosting the production, availability and circulation of high-quality, innovative European works, enhancing Europe’s cultural diversity and the competitiveness of European media;

50.

reiterates that local and regional authorities must play a key role in managing their cultural and linguistic heritage, promoting new business models in local creative industries and local media, and promoting creative works that are (co-)financed by media institutes and organisations (17);

51.

points out that, although Creative Europe is not a social programme, policies relating to new services and new digital media, as well as creative content, must not be framed on the basis of economic criteria alone, but must take cultural and social factors into account (18). In view of this, creative content must promote social cohesion and inclusion, particularly in the case of groups which are at risk of exclusion or otherwise socially disadvantaged;

Performance results and monitoring

52.

emphasises that in terms of implementing the Programme it is particularly important to ensure synergies with national and regional strategies for smart specialisation;

53.

agrees that in looking at performance results, it is important to take into account that performance results depend on the complementary impact of other activities at European and national level affecting the cultural and creative sectors, and that therefore changes in indicators cannot always be attributed to the effects of the Creative Europe programme;

54.

agrees that it is useful to develop quantifiable indicators for the general and specific objectives relating to cultural and creative activity, such as employment, accessibility, partnerships, learning opportunities, circulation of works and operators, audiences reached by films and the percentage of European audiovisual works; at the same time, emphasises the regional dimension of these indicators; however, is critical of the excessive focus on economic growth, profit and competition in these indicators, which makes them unsuitable for evaluating or monitoring the non-commercial cultural sector;

55.

with regard to implementing the objective on strengthening the financial capacity of the cultural and creative sectors, is pleased to note that not only the amount of loans but also the number and geographical spread of financial institutions providing access to finance are mentioned;

56.

calls on the Council and the European Parliament to ensure that, in addition to regular monitoring, the Commission refers the evaluation report which is to be drawn up by the end of 2017 on the programme’s achievement of its objectives, its efficiency and European added value, to the Committee of the Regions for an opinion.

II.   RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AMENDMENTS

Amendment 1

Article 3(1)

European added value

Text proposed by the Commission

CoR amendment

The Programme shall only support those actions and activities presenting a potential European added value and contributing to the achievement of the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy and its flagship initiatives.

The Programme shall only support those actions and activities presenting a potential European added value and contributing to the achievement of the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy and its flagship initiatives.

Reason

The European added value is not only concentrated around the EU2020, but also around the Horizon2020 and cohesion amongst others.

Amendment 2

Article 3(2)a

European added value

Text proposed by the Commission

CoR amendment

a)

the transnational character of its activities and their impact, which will complement national, international and other Union programmes;

a)

the transnational character of its activities and their impact, which will complement national, international and other Union programmes;

Reason

There are transnational projects and programmes which are developed and implemented at local and regional and could benefit from support at EU level, through the future Creative Europe programme.

Amendment 3

Article 5c

Specific objectives of the Programme

Text proposed by the Commission

CoR amendment

to strengthen the financial capacity of the cultural and creative sectors, and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises and organisations;

to strengthen the financial capacity of the cultural and creative sectors, and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises and organisations ;

Reason

The scope of the specific objectives of the Programme should be broader and go below SME level in order to accurately depict the reality of those working in the creative and cultural sectors.

Amendment 4

Article 7(1)a

The Cultural and Creative Sectors Facility

Text proposed by the Commission

CoR amendment

facilitate access to finance for small- and medium-sized enterprises and organisations in the European cultural and creative sectors;

facilitate access to finance for small- and medium-sized enterprises and and

Reason

The scope of the Cultural and Creative Sectors Facility should be broader and go below SME level in order to accurately depict the reality of those working in the creative and cultural sectors.

Amendment 5

Article 13(1)a

Consistency and complementarity

Text proposed by the Commission

CoR amendment

a)

relevant EU policies, in particular those in the fields of education, employment, health, research and innovation, enterprise, tourism, justice and development;

a)

relevant EU policies, in particular those in the fields of education, employment, health, research and innovation, enterprise, tourism, justice and development;

Reason

The cultural sector is very dynamic in economic activity and job creation within the EU and substantially contributes to local and regional development. Support for cultural and creative industries could also lead to strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion within the Union by reducing disparities between the levels of development of the various regions.

Amendment 6

Article 14(1)

Monitoring and evaluation

Text proposed by the Commission

CoR amendment

(1)   The Commission shall ensure regular monitoring and external evaluation of the Creative Europe Programme against the following performance indicators. It has to be taken into account that the achievement of performance results depends on the complementary impact of other activities at European and national level affecting the cultural and creative sectors:

(1)   The Commission shall ensure regular monitoring and external evaluation of the Creative Europe Programme against the following performance indicators. It has to be taken into account that the achievement of performance results depends on the complementary impact of other at European, national level affecting the cultural and creative sectors:

Reason

Self-explanatory.

Amendment 7

Annex 1

Implementation arrangements for the cultural and creative sectors facility

Text proposed by the Commission

CoR amendment

The Commission shall establish a facility targeting the cultural and creative sectors and operated within the context of a European Union debt instrument for small and medium-sized enterprises. The financial support thus provided shall be earmarked to small and medium-sized enterprises and organisations operating in the cultural and creative sectors.

The Commission shall establish a facility targeting the cultural and creative sectors and operated within the context of a European Union debt instrument for small and medium-sized enterprises. The financial support thus provided shall be earmarked to small and medium-sized enterprises and organisations operating in the cultural and creative sectors.

Reason

The implementation arrangements of the Cultural and Creative Sectors Facility should be broader and go below SME level in order to accurately depict the reality of those working in the creative and cultural sectors.

Brussels, 19 July 2012.

The President of the Committee of the Regions

Mercedes BRESSO


(1)  Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, ‘A Budget for Europe 2020’, COM(2011) 500 final, 29.6.2011.

(2)  Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, ‘A Budget for Europe 2020’, COM(2011) 500 final, 29.6.2011.

(3)  CdR 181/2010 fin.

(4)  CdR 172/2007 fin.

(5)  CdR 44/2006 fin.

(6)  CdR 181/2010 fin.

(7)  CdR 27/2009 fin.

(8)  CdR 293/2010 fin.

(9)  CdR 259/2004 fin.

(10)  CdR 259/2004 fin.

(11)  CdR 251/2005 fin.

(12)  CdR 27/2009 fin.

(13)  CdR 133/2009 fin.

(14)  CdR 293/2010 fin.

(15)  CdR 293/2010 fin.

(16)  CdR 94/2008 fin.

(17)  CdR 94/2008 fin.

(18)  CdR 94/2008 fin.


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