It has been just over a year since the COVID-19 epidemic began and there is no doubt that the cultural and creative sectors have suffered greatly from the blockage. As a result, both sectors experienced a near total collapse in activity that had a huge economic impact on their businesses and employees. Almost eight million people in the EU work in the cultural and creative sectors, which represents more than four percent of the EU’s gross domestic product.
The loss of turnover for the sectors last year is estimated at around 80% – and the figures for this year unfortunately show no signs of improvement. For European cultural workers – including artists, creators, musicians, living artists and actors – the situation is dire and many face financial ruin.
I’m a musician myself, so I know the fears and concerns of those who make a living from their music and their live performances. Many have precarious and precarious work and most of them are self-employed with no regular income and little access to social protection schemes, especially for those in atypical forms of employment.
The European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education is very aware of these significant developments and, in its resolution of September last year, urged the European Commission to include the cultural and creative sectors. in current and postpandemic recovery and revitalization policies and programs. . It is deeply regrettable that the EU’s recovery plan for the next generation has not allocated a specific amount directly to the cultural and creative sectors.
“Culture not only has economic value, it also has intrinsic value as an expression of humanity. It strengthens the construction of inclusive and resilient societies, contributes to social cohesion and to open, plural and tolerant societies ”
However, we continue to press the Commission and EU Member States to allocate at least 2% of the Resilience and Recovery Facility, in their national recovery plans, to the culture and of creation. A positive signal is that Parliament has secured an increase in the budget for Erasmus + and the Creative Europe programs, both of which are essential vectors for protecting and promoting cultural diversity across the EU.
Nevertheless, in the current and future circumstances, more financial means will be necessary to mitigate the aggravating impact of the crises on the cultural and creative sectors, if we are to save our cultural ecosystems. Culture not only has economic value, it also has intrinsic value as an expression of humanity. It strengthens the construction of inclusive and resilient societies, contributes to social cohesion and to open, plural and tolerant societies. Culture is also an essential tool in the fight against racism because it helps to reduce prejudices and stigma and promotes intercultural dialogue.
Earlier this month we celebrated the 50th anniversary of International Romani Day. Each year this event is celebrated with cultural events promoting Romani culture and its diversity. This is important because very little is known about the diversity of the culture, language and traditions of this ethnic minority, which have often greatly influenced our societies. Spanish Romani, Calé, for example, has played an important role in the development of modern Spanish culture, Romani music is part of the Hungarian folk genre, while French gypsy musicians have promoted European jazz.
Even though the coronavirus pandemic has prevented many cultural events, I am confident that once we overcome this current challenge, we will see a high demand for cultural activities, as they are vital for our societies. But to rebuild the cultural and creative sectors, they must be actively involved in all recovery efforts.