By Emmanuel Legrand
A coalition of 110 European organisations representing all aspects of the cultural and creative sectors have sent a letter to the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and to European Union's national governments, urging them to make culture an integral part of national recovery and resilience plans. They are calling for the cultural and creative sectors to receive at least 2% of the €750 billion Recovery and Resilience Facility budget.
"As our societies are going through an unprecedented turmoil, we call on the EU and its Member States to make sure that culture is placed at the core of each and every recovery plan, which aims at a sustainable, inclusive and future-looking revival of our social and economic life," reads the letter.
The European Parliament in its recent Resolution on the “Cultural Recovery of Europe” supported the call for 2% of the RRF budget to fund the cultural and creative sectors (CCSs). In the letter, signatories stress out that CCSs "are among the most seriously damaged by the pandemic," with cultural activities are being "halted," millions of jobs "frozen or wiped out," micro and small businesses "on the brink of bankruptcy" and many talents "forced to leave the sector altogether.
Imagining a different future
"On top of that," they noted, "we are at the beginning of a second wave in Europe that will undoubtedly increase the impact of the pandemic crisis on the CCSs. This unprecedented uncertainty prevents the CCSs from bouncing back, devising viable short and medium- term plans and imagining a different future. There is a risk that citizens will not find their vibrant cultural life back in the post-pandemic world."
The signatories welcome the fact that the European Commission has included culture as one of the 14 priority ecosystems to support through the recovery package for Europe presented back in May, but lament that the European Commission "has not integrated clear and strong references to culture" in the “Guidance to Member States Recovery and Resilience Plans.”
"Now that the dialogue with the Member States on the design of their national recovery and resilience plans has kicked off, it is crucial that CCSs are fully included in the attainment of the main RRF objectives," reads the letter, concluding: "We hope you will do everything possible to safeguard the diversity, vibrancy and richness of Europe."