The strategy outlines some key actions to invest in the cultural sector across Europe
The European Commission (EC) has outlined a strategy for investment in the cultural sector that will develop ideas for creating jobs and produce a positive knock on effect in related fields. The strategy proposes a series of policy initiatives and a new regulatory environment aimed at overcoming the challenges facing the sector, such as the shift to digital technologies and lack of investment from the financial sector. Some key actions have been drafted, including addressing changing skills needs; improving access to finance; enlarging the marketplace by creating new partnerships; expanding international reach; and encouraging stronger links between business and culture. Methods suggested for member states to achieve these ends include encouraging early adoption of creative skills teaching, increasing the financial sectors’ understanding of the arts world, a greater focus on audience development, and further co-operation between the cultural sector and the tourism, planning and industrial sectors. EU funding will be used to increase support for the sector, including the proposed €1.8bn 'Creative Europe' programme for 2014-2020.
At a legislative level, the Small Business Act for Europe aims to improve conditions for entrepreneurship in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and will be relevant in the arts sector, where many businesses fall into this bracket. The EU also will focus on achieving a fully integrated digital European Single Market, which will increase the sales of cultural products by resolving the problem of intellectual property rights across national borders and tackle the production of fake cultural products. They will continue to support a range of financial measures that promote cultural understanding, such as Erasmus for all.
The plans follow in the footsteps of America and China, both of which have taken steps to use their cultural economy to create growth. The creative industries currently account for 3.3% of European GDP and employ 6.7m people – an estimated 3% of total employment, and some parts of the creative sector have proved more resilient to the challenging economic climate than the EU economy as a whole.