EU budget: Reinforcing Europe's cultural and creative sectors in 2021-2027



For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the European Commission is proposing to increase funding for Creative Europe, the programme supporting European cultural and creative sectors and audiovisual works, to €1.85 billion.

The Programme's proposal recognises that culture is key to strengthen inclusive and cohesive communities. So, the Programme will support the initiatives that allow more people to participate in culture and thus contribute to a socially more inclusive European society. In the context of migration pressure, culture has an important role in the integration of migrants to help them feel part of host societies and develop good relations between migrants and new communities.

What’s new regarding the Programme’s objectives?

  • Just like the New European Agenda for Culture, the Programme builds on three domains: social, economic and international (cultural diplomacy).
  • Competitiveness is still a target, plus there is a new key word - “scalability” referred to the audiovisual industry
  • Promotion of social inclusion is part of specific objectives
  • The new Programme will also support actions aiming at reinforcing Europe’s news media sector, journalistic freedom, diversity and pluralism of journalistic content, as well as a critical approach to media content through media literacy.

Among other novelties:

  • The Programme will contribute to mainstream climate actions and to the achievement of an overall target of 25 % of the Union budget expenditures supporting climate objectives.
  • The Programme will promote gender equality and contribute to achieving a more balanced gender participation in the cultural and creative industries.


The definition of "cultural and creative industries" remains the same as it was stated in 2013: 'cultural and creative sectors' means all sectors whose activities are based on cultural values or artistic and other individual or collective creative expressions. The activities may include the development, the creation, the production, the dissemination and the preservation of goods and services which embody cultural, artistic or other creative expressions, as well as related functions such as education or management. They will have a potential to generate innovation and jobs in particular from intellectual property. The sectors include architecture, archives, libraries and museums, artistic crafts, audiovisual (including film, television, video games and multimedia), tangible and intangible cultural heritage, design (including fashion design), festivals, music, literature, performing arts, books and publishing, radio, and visual arts. The notion "whether those activities are market- or non-market-oriented" (2013) is not part of the definition anymore.


The Programme will consist of three strands:

1) Culture (€609 million) will continue supporting transnational partnerships, networks and platforms. It will also develop sector specific initiatives (music, books and publishing, architecture and cultural heritage and other sectors, such as design, fashion and cultural tourism).

The current specific objectives for the Culture strands are linked to skills, competencies, know-how, adaptation to digital technologies, audience development, new business models, internationalisation of careers, among others.

The objectives proposed for the future Culture strand:

  • to strengthen the cross-border dimension and circulation of European cultural and creative operators and works
  • to increase cultural participation across Europe
  • to promote societal resilience and social inclusion through culture and cultural heritage
  • to enhance the capacity of European cultural and creative sectors to prosper and to generate jobs and growth
  • to strengthen European identity and values through cultural awareness, arts education and culture-based creativity in education
  • to promote international capacity building of European cultural and creative sectors to be active at the international level
  • to contribute to the Union 's global strategy for international relations through cultural diplomacy.

The strand will also support mobility of artists and cultural and creative operators, policy development, cooperation and implementation in the field of culture, including through the provision of data and exchange of best practices or pilot projects.

2) MEDIA (€ 1.081 billion): the priorities circulate around enhancing distribution, innovative business models, use of new technologies, reaching larger audiences, which are not dramatically different from the current MEDIA strand’s focus.

3) Cross-sectorial strand (€ 160 million): will promote cross-cutting activities spanning across audiovisual and other cultural and creative sectors. Pluralism of media environment, quality journalism and media literacy will be also part of this strand. The Guarantee Facility will not be covered by the cross-sectorial strand; it will be implemented through the Invest EU Fund.

Regarding the current Creative Europe’s priorities, reaching audiences is still part both of Culture and MEDIA, but “innovative business models” are only mentioned in the MEDIA outline. Culture will be also more focused on bringing the specific social benefits of culture for individuals and society to the fore. 

The European Film Academy and the European Youth Orchestra may be awarded grants without a call for proposal.


Greater flexibility will be embedded within the programme in order to adapt work programmes to unforeseen circumstances or new technological or societal developments, and reward performance. Greater effectiveness and efficiency will be sought by an increased use of framework partnership agreements and cascading grants (beneficiaries can offer support to third parties) to provide financial stability and facilitate access to smaller players. Lighter reporting requirements will be introduced.

More information and legal texts

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