Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Creative Europe?

Press release just in...

European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou has unveiled details of Creative Europe, the European Commission’s planned new Programme for the cultural and creative sector, as part of its proposal for the EU’s multi-annual budget for 2014-2020.

The Creative Europe Programme intends to support the cultural and creative sectors. With a proposed budget of €1.8 billion for the period 2014-2020, it will be a much-needed boost for the cultural and creative industries, which are a major source of jobs and growth in Europe.

"This investment will help tens of thousands of culture and audiovisual professionals to make the most of the Single Market and to reach new audiences in Europe and beyond; without this support, it would be difficult or impossible for them to break into new markets. Creative Europe also promotes cultural and linguistic diversity, as well as contributing to our Europe 2020 objectives for jobs and sustainable growth," said Vassiliou.

The Commission's Creative Europe proposal would enable:
- 300 000 artists and cultural professionals and their work to receive funding to reach new audiences beyond their home countries;
- More than 1 000 European films would receive distribution support, enabling them to be seen by audiences throughout Europe and the world;
- At least 2 500 European cinemas would receive funding enabling them to ensure that at least 50% of the films they screen are European;
- More than 5 500 books and other literary works would receive support for translation, allowing readers to enjoy them in their mother tongue;
- Thousands of cultural organisations and professionals would benefit from training to gain new skills and to strengthen their capacity to work internationally;
- At least 100 million people would be reached through the projects financed by the programme.

The new Programme would allocate more than €900 million in support of the cinema and audiovisual sector (area covered by current MEDIA programme) and almost €500 million for culture. The Commission is also proposing to allocate more than €210 million for a new financial guarantee facility.

The proposed €1.8 billion budget for Creative Europe represents a 37% increase on current spending level.

The current MEDIA Programme (2007-2013) has a budget of €755 million with an additional €15 million for MEDIA Mundus which supports international cooperation.

The Creative Europe proposal is now under discussion by the Council (27 Member States) and the European Parliament who will take the final decision on the budgetary framework for 2014-2020.

Further information on Creative Europe is available at this link.

I have to say I have reservations about the Commission's funding in this area.

For one thing the measurement of outcomes has, heretofore, been laden with political spin and interference. For another, the consultation survey on MEDIA was geared to business interests rather than cultural outcomes. And, lastly, the emphasis on businesses as the appropriate intermediary mode of production and delivery of culturally valuable endeavour is, in my opinion, deeply flawed.

This from the FAQ:
Are individuals eligible to apply for funding?
Creative Europe will not be open to applications from individuals. But around 300,000 individual artists and cultural professionals, as well as training institutions, will be reached through the projects submitted by cultural organisations. This is a much more cost-effective way to achieve results and a lasting impact.

And from the official Communication
The MEDIA Strand will increase resources for distribution, including increased and more focused funding for sales agents to allow for the emergence of stronger sales agents with higher buying and selling power on the international market.
Strengthening support to Europe-based international co-production funds will boost co-production between European and non-European producers, increasing the number and improving the quality of the works, and thereby contributing to further opening international markets.
Independent video games developers will benefit from new growth markets through facilitated access to funding. The result would be increased competitiveness of SMES, increased revenues, bigger market share, and widening the audience.
As well as increasing the global competitiveness of the European cultural and creative sectors and their scale, the Culture and MEDIA Strands will improve the offer of content available for consumers, with positive impacts on cultural diversity and European cultural identity.
New direct and focused support to audience-building measures is expected to generate new audiences and thereby increase consumer demand, although the scale of this effect is uncertain and will require a long-term approach. By reaching previously excluded social groups, this could also have benefits for social cohesion. The benefits of increased demand would flow through the value chain to stimulate increased circulation of works, new revenue streams and to improve the competitiveness of the sectors.
By improving access to finance for the cultural and creative sectors through improved investment and investor readiness, the new financial Facility will increase the capacity of these sectors to attract private finance, strengthen their financial capacity and the commercial potential of works, thereby strengthening their competitiveness and opening up new opportunities for growth and employment. It will also lessen SMEs' dependence on public subsidies in some cases, while opening up new revenue streams in others.
The support for transnational policy cooperation will help to increase the availability of comparable data which will facilitate more effective evidence-based policy-making. This can strengthen national policy environments for the cultural and creative sectors and contribute to systemic change. The possibility to test and share experience and knowledge on new business models will contribute to helping the sectors adapt to the digital shift, bringing new employment and growth opportunities.

Reads to this observer like a bad case of cultural needles amid 'commercial' haystacks.

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