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Meet "Creative Europe", the new European funding framework

--- This article was published in the "European Choral Magazine" 1/2014 ---



The announcement in 2011 by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilinguism and Youth, that the Culture programme will be combined with the funding programme for the media sector, bringing it in line with the Europe 2020 strategy by reducing administration and increasing the sector’s competitiveness, has caused unrest amongst many cultural operators who are worried that the intrinsic value of culture will lose out to market-orientated activities. And the Commission’s initial proposal for its new programme for the 2014-2020 period has not calmed these nerves.



A new Programm for 2014-2020


Whereas the previous Culture programme, which served the sector from 2007-2013, centered around cultural exchange, mobility of artists, and intercultural dialogue; Creative Europe, the new programme’s all-encompassing focus, relies on safeguarding and promoting cultural and linguistic diversity and strengthening the competitiveness of the cultural and creative sectors.

These are goals to which the sector subscribes, but it is felt that the wording of the Commission’s proposal has put a disproportional emphasis on competitiveness, economic growth and the creative industries, at the expense of the non-profit, cultural sector. Following two years of rigorous negotiations between the Commission, Parliament and Council, Creative Europe was finally launched on 1 January 2014. Creative Europe brings together the previous Culture and MEDIA programmes with a new financial-guarantee tool for the cultural and creative sectors (the latter will be launched in 2016).


Thanks to the amendments proposed by the European Parliament and Council, which were in part shaped by strong lobbying from cultural networks such as the European Music Council, the Commission’s original proposal was revised, and a clear link to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was established, reemphasizing culture’s dual character as a vehicle of identity and a valuable commodity, and giving a clear mandate for the funding of non-profit cultural organisations and projects whose main objectives are not the generation of profit. It also allows for a broader interpretation of the concept of audience development to include participation, rather than simply passive consumption. Furthermore, it permits support for critical non-market-conforming art forms, thereby supporting cultural diversity. But as reassuring as the text of the programme’s legal basis is, the guidelines may prove more difficult for non-profit organisations to put into practice, as the language remains business-oriented.


Creative Europe has a budget of €1.46billion, a mere 9% more than the previous programmes combined. €453 million (31%) is allocated to the ‘culture’ strand, with MEDIA and a new loan- guarantee tool receiving 56% and 16% respectively. Although much less than promised in the Commission’s initial proposal, we can be pleased that in a time of cuts and austerity measures the EU budget for culture has not been decreased. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the EU will only spend €64.7million on culture per year over the next seven years!



The calls for Projects are online!


Culture and MEDIA maintain their own strands within the new programme, allowing for each sector’s individual needs to be addressed separately. The main focus of the culture strand will remain on projects between organisations in at least three participating European countries. The biggest change, however, is the decreased funding of cultural networks; the number of European networks receiving EU grants was slashed to twenty-five. On a more positive note, significantly higher grants, in the form of project support, will be made available to these networks. A new entity receiving support will be European Platforms; ten cultural and creative organisations that help to promote emerging talent on the European stage.

Calls for proposals are already online. Deadlines for application are 5 March 2014 for European Cooperation projects and 19 March 2014 for European Networks and European Platforms.


Two categories of cooperation projects:

Category 1: max. 4 years, minimum 3 partners, EU funding covers 60% of a global budget of 333.000 € maximum

Category 2: max. 4 years, minimum 6 partners, EU funding covers 50% of a global budget of 4 Million € maximum

Next deadline for applications is 1 October 2014


Julia Osada

Executive Officer

European Music Council


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This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein