In recent years, there has been an increasing awareness of the importance of cultural and creative industries (CCIs) at EU level.
On top of being essential drivers for cultural diversity in Europe, these industries – which include notably architecture, archives and libraries, artistic crafts, audiovisual (such as film, television, video games and multimedia), cultural heritage, design, festivals, music, performing arts, publishing, radio and visual arts – are one of Europe's most dynamic economic sectors.
They employ millions of people across the EU-27, contribute a substantial share to EU GDP and grow faster than the rest of the economy. CCIs are also a lever for social and territorial cohesion, as well as driving creativity and innovation with positive spillover effects on the rest of the economy and on society as a whole.
However, these industries are faced with a rapidly changing environment characterized in particular by new technologies (digital shift) and globalization, which bring with them new challenges and opportunities. Moreover, businesses in this sector, and especially SMEs, too often face obstacles to fulfilling their full potential. The current economic crisis is also adversely impacting on these industries, making it even more difficult for them to access the resources they need to finance their activities and adapt to the new environment.
In order to better understand the type of business environment meeting the specific needs of creative entrepreneurship, the Commission published a Green Paper in April 2010, which prompted contributions from organisations and individuals from all over Europe. It also commissioned studies, in particular a study on the entrepreneurial dimension of CCIs and a study on culture in local and regional development (see dedicated section).
Furthermore, as part of the implementation of the European Agenda for Culture:
- A Group of experts from Member States has been working on the topic since 2008. Its mandate is now focused on the strategic use of EU support programmes, including structural funds (in 2011) ) (see handbook in right-hand column); export and internationalisation support strategies (in 2012-2013); and good practices on financial engineering for SMEs in cultural and creative sector (in 2013-2014).
- A Civil Society Platform set up in 2008 produced policy recommendations, in 2010 and is currently working on topics such as Finance and taxation; Regional cohesion; Digital environment; Mobility; and Education and skills.
In the context of the new EU programmes post 2013 – in particular the new Creative Europe Programme and the Cohesion Policy instruments – and the flagship initiatives of Europe 2020, measures will be proposed by the Commission with the view to unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries.
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