Policy statement: EU action towards a sustainable and fair situation of artists and cultural professionals
We warmly welcome the CULT Committee’s “Report on the situation of artists and the cultural recovery in the EU” voted on by the European Parliament on the 20th of October. The Report sets a long-awaited and comprehensive vision on addressing a wide range of the most persistent matters linked to the situation of artists and cultural professionals. Our policy statement highlights some further areas for action.
Culture and the arts play a tremendous role in every field of our life. Cultural and creative sectors are significant drivers of youth employment, which is essential in light of the post-pandemic recovery and relevant for the endeavours of the upcoming European Year of Youth 2022. Artistic creation and cultural participation contribute to the building of a strong civil society, stimulate critical thinking and enhance democracy – the priorities which are at the heart of the European Democracy Action Plan. Moreover, culture is recognised by the European Commission as one of the 14 priority ecosystems for the recovery of Europe.
If we do not want this valuable and vibrant resource to be damaged and undermined by the ongoing unprecedented crisis, we should urgently put in place concrete and effective policy tools to protect and support the people working in culture and the arts. The contemporary solutions should focus on avoiding the further precarisation of artists and cultural professionals and prevent the talent drain in the CCSs. Moreover, an EU action in this field should consider the growing imbalances between Member States that hinder cross-border artistic collaboration, which is an essential element of a united, social and human Europe.
In this regard, we warmly welcome the CULT Committee’s Report on the situation of artists and the cultural recovery in the EU voted on by the European Parliament on the 20th of October. The Report sets a long-awaited and comprehensive vision on addressing a wide range of the most persistent matters linked to the situation of artists and cultural professionals and puts forward a number of viable proposals, such as:
remove the competition law obstacle to collective bargaining for self-employed, taking the broadest possible approach;
adopt comprehensive guidelines regarding the access of cultural workers to social security, sickness insurance, unemployment insurance and pension schemes;
guarantee fair, appropriate and proportionate remuneration of authors and performers for the online use of their works and performances;
review the practice of buy-out clauses that deprive authors and performers of royalties and other remunerations.
We endorse the Report’s ambitious and relevant approach and hope the European Commission and Member States will seize the momentum to make tangible progress in improving the socio-economic status of millions of European cultural and artistic professionals. In this regard, we would like to highlight the following areas of action:
DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion should integrate the CCSs in the European Semester, to create a framework for a consistent monitoring of the Member States’ progress in regard to improving the socio-economic situation of artists and cultural professionals, as well as for a continuous review of the indicators in regard to public spending on culture.
Council Work Plan for Culture 2023-2026
Member States should include working conditions of artists and cultural professionals as one of the priority themes of the Council Work Plan for Culture 2023-2026. It is necessary to constructively use the learnings and outputs of the activities undertaken as part of the current Work Plan, such as the Voices of Culture Report, the European Commission study “The status and working conditions of artists and cultural and creative professionals” and the ongoing OMC process.
Renewed Agenda for Culture
The New Agenda for Culture 2018 remains relevant in its part of harnessing the core values of culture (social, economic, international). However, it does not reflect the consequences of the upheaval the pandemic brought to the cultural and creative ecosystem and the society at large. Today, the EU discourse on culture must shift from the strong focus on possible spill-overs culture can create for society and economy towards designing viable strategies for making the cultural and creative ecosystem itself more sustainable, fair and inclusive.
EU Action Plan on Artistic Freedom
DG Education and Culture should design an EU action plan for protecting artistic freedom, in the framework of the EU Democracy Action Plan. As COVID-19 times have reduced artistic production and presentation, the capability of the artistic communities across the whole world to stimulate and feed critical reflection and socio-political engagements and debates have been drastically reduced. On top of that, in some of the Member States, the most critical and independent artistic voices have been deprived of emergency support and excluded from the long-term recovery plans. Therefore, the freedom of artistic expression must be high on the EU’s agenda.
Culture and the arts play a tremendous role in every field of our life. If we do not want to see this valuable resource damaged and undermined by the ongoing unprecedented crisis, we should urgently put in place concrete and effective policy tools to protect and support people working in culture and the arts.
EAEA - European Arts and Entertainment Alliance