EU budget: Reinforcing Europe’s cultural and creative sectors

EU Budget 2021-2027

Press conference of Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the EC, Marianne Thyssen, Tibor Navracsics, and Mariya Gabriel, Members of the EC, on on funds to invest in people in the framework of the 2021-2027 budget (European Social Fund +, Erasmus, European Globalization Adjustment Fund, the Justice, Rights and Values Fund and Creative Europe). © European Union , 2018 / Photo: Jennifer Jacquemart.

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

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.

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: “The digital environment has transformed our cultural landscape, bringing new challenges and opportunities to Europe’s cultural and creative sectors. We want EU authors, creators and producers to make the most out of these new digital opportunities.”

Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “Culture has always been at the heart of the European project. It is what brings people together. The cultural and creative sectors also have a crucial role in driving economic and social development, and they enable us to build strong international relations. We have big ambitions for culture, and a strong Creative Europe will enable us to make them a reality. I call on all Member States and the European Parliament to back this approach.”

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said: “Our support for the cultural sectors is essential in helping Europe’s industry foster its competitiveness. A strong audiovisual sector, which we can achieve through Creative Europe’s MEDIA programme, will bolster European culture, identity and diversity, and will help reinforce our common values of media freedom and pluralism”.

The Commission’s proposal to reinforce the EU’s cultural and creative sectors is focused on three areas: MEDIA – the Creative Europe programme to support the EU’s film and other audiovisual industries; Culture; and cross-sectoral action:

1. MEDIA: €1.081 billion will fund audiovisual projects and stimulate competitiveness in the audiovisual sector in Europe. The MEDIA programme will continue to support the development, distribution and promotion of European films, TV programmes and video games. In the coming years, more money will be invested in the international promotion and distribution of European works and innovative storytelling, including virtual reality. An online directory of EU films will be created to reinforce the accessibility and visibility of European works. 

2. CULTURE: €609 million from the new budget will be allocated to promoting Europe’s cultural and creative sectors. Cooperation projects, networks and platforms will be set up to connect talented artists across Europe and make it easier for creators to cooperate across borders. 

3. ACROSS CULTURAL AND MEDIA SECTORS: €160 million will fund SMEs and other organisations working in the cultural and creative sectors. The funding will also be used to promote cultural policy cooperation across the EU, to promote a free, diverse and pluralistic media environment, and to support qualitative journalism and media literacy.

Culture has a positive role to play in reinforcing the resilience of European society and our economy. Due to digitisation and global competition, stronger support is needed for the European cultural and creative sectors. More can be done to stimulate cross-border productions, to ensure that European works are more widely distributed, and to ensure we make the most out of digital technology, while maintaining Europe’s cultural and linguistic diversity. In addition, by reinforcing culture and creativity in the EU, we can better support media freedom and pluralism, crucial for maintaining open, inclusive and creative societies. This is why the Commission is proposing an increase of funding for the Creative Europe programme.

Next steps

A swift agreement on the overall long-term EU budget and its sectoral proposals is essential to ensure that EU funds start delivering results on the ground as soon as possible.

If facing delays, thousands of cultural and creative organisations, networks or business would not be able to start their projects on time. Festivals featuring European movies or European music may also face financial troubles and thousands of audiovisual professionals would be unable to attend Creative Europe-funded projects.

An agreement on the next long-term budget in 2019 would provide for a seamless transition between the current long-term budget (2014-2020) and the new one and would ensure predictability and continuity of funding to the benefit of all.


The current Creative Europe programme runs from 2014-2020. The proposal for a new Creative Europe programme is part of the “Investing in people” chapter of the EU’s long-term budget proposal. Its main objective is to promote European culture that contributes to a European identity. The new programme will also empower citizens by promoting and protecting fundamental rights and values and to create opportunities for engagement and democratic participation in political and civil society.

European support to culture and the audiovisual sector has been provided through various funding programmes for many years. The Creative Europe programme 2014-2020 constitutes a unique platform for coordinated and constructive support to cultural and creative sectors across the continent. The new proposed programme builds on the experiences and sets out to continue and strengthen well working elements. It also builds on the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage which aims to raise awareness of Europe’s shared yet diverse heritage, and to strengthen a European identity.

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