MEPs call for minimum social standards for artists and cultural workers

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


Parliament calls on the Commission to propose a “European Status of the Artist”, setting out a common framework for working conditions and minimum standards for all EU countries.

Member states should also ensure that freelancers and the self-employed, including artists and cultural workers, have access to collective bargaining, MEPs say in a resolution adopted on Wednesday by 543 votes in favour 50 against and 107 abstentions.

Cross- border mobility

They point to the differences in national legislation on the legal status of artists that hinder collaboration and cross-border work. Member states should work towards mutual recognition of cultural and creative qualifications and diplomas and remove all other barriers to cross-border movement and work, for example, by revising administrative requirements on visas, taxation, and social security.

MEPs also call for specific programmes to support young creators and innovators to move and work across Europe.

Copyright income and streaming platforms

Due to the pandemic, both artists and audiences are becoming more dependent on digital streaming platforms, which impose “buy-out clauses” on authors, purchasing full copyright from them in exchange for a one-off payment, thus depriving authors of being paid every time their work is played. MEPs ask the Commission to address this and ensure that revenues are duly and fairly distributed to all creators, artists and rights holders.

Defend artistic freedom

MEPs urge member states to foster and defend artistic freedom and ensure that EU citizens can freely enjoy artistic creations. They urge the Commission to penalise EU countries that fail to uphold this freedom.

Quote

Rapporteur Monica Semedo (Renew, LU) said: “Even before the pandemic, many artists were struggling and needed a second income to make a decent living. We urge member states and the Commission to take specific measures to tackle unstable income, unpaid work and job insecurity, and to safeguard a minimum standard of income for artists and cultural professionals. We also need to avoid bureaucratic burdens, such as work permits or permits for holding festivals and double taxation for artists working across borders”.

Background

In 2020, the cultural and creative sector in the EU experienced losses in turnover of over 30%, a cumulative loss of EUR 199 billion – with the music and performing arts sectors experiencing losses of 75% and 90% respectively.

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