Monday, January 25, 2016

Preparing the next Creative Europe programme

By Emmanuel Legrand

European Commission's Karel Bartak
The European Union's policy in the field of the arts was the focus of a discussion with Karel Bartak, who is in charge of the Creative Europe Coordination Unit within the Directorate General for Education and Culture at the European Commission, at the Eurosonic/Noorderslag conference in Groningen, Netherlands (Jan 13-16). Bartak was in Groningen to share with the music industry the Commission's projects for the years to come. 

At the moment, said Bartak, the Commission has in place a 1.5 billion euros programme (0.2% of the EC's budget) for culture that covers the years 2014 to 2020, but plans are already underway for the next programme, that will cover seven years from 2021.
Projects supported by Creative Europe include LiveEurope, that helps venues programming new European talent, or ETEP for festivals, as well as the European Border Breakers Awards. "Most projects are small," said Bartak, "but we can see that most projects act as leverage and generate much more than just the amount taken in consideration."

A The Commission can only act in the field of culture on actions that are not already covered by Member States. Thus, Bartak wants "to make sure that pop music is also part of the programme." 

An evidence-based approach
A first round of consultation with over 50 representatives from the industry took place in Brussels early December 2015, and Bartak said that a first series of proposals will be presented at Midem in June 2016 in Cannes (France). The Commission will work on a policy paper by 2017, which will then be presented to the Parliament for a vote in 2019.

"Business is mostly based on private initiatives," said Bartak. "European funding programmes are more oriented towards the classical sector, but now we think that the economic argument by supporting the small businesses in recording, publishing, etc makes a lot of sense because we can more easily convince policy-makers. We are now busy gathering evidence."

He continued: "At the beginning of December, we agreed that need evidence-based approach. If we can make a case we can get more important funding for the future. When it comes to seven-year budget, it is the finance ministers that make the decision so we need to convince them that they get something back in terms of growth and jobs."

He added that the Commission wanted to hear from all actors -- authors, songwriters, labels, publishers, radio stations, and all those part of eco-system -- to identify themes and establish workshops and come with initiatives. "We need to prepare for the period after 2020 and have a substantial amount of money for this programme," he said.

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