Across Europe, many regions and cities are considering culture and the cultural and creative sectors as essential assets to boost their economic competitiveness and attractiveness. As an example, recent European Capitals of Culture have successfully invested in culture to create jobs, heal their social fabric and transform their image.
That is why the European Union can provide support for culture not only through its Culture Programme, but also through the EU Cohesion Policy Funds, which aim at encouraging economic growth in EU Member States and their regions.
For the current funding period 2007-2013, it is estimated that more than 6 billion Euros have been earmarked by European regions for cultural infrastructure, cultural heritage and cultural services (see below Culture and Structural Funds ).
Over the period 2014-2020, the Cohesion Policy Funds will also provide culture with many funding opportunities. These Funds could for example be used to reinforce entrepreneurship within the cultural and creative sectors, to develop creative clusters or creative incubators, to support the digitisation of cultural content or to promote cultural heritage as all these activities can be a lever of development for regions and cities.
The challenge is to further integrate the cultural and creative sectors into regional and local development strategies - in line with the newly coined concept of "smart specialisation", so as to bring about the emergence of a creative environment that promotes traditional cultural assets, stimulates the development of creative businesses, favours a better mix of investment in infrastructures and in human capital and supports spill-over effects into the local existing industries.
To better sensitize local, regional and national authorities on the potential of cultural and creative sectors in boosting regional and local development, and help them formulate integrated strategies for these sectors, a Policy Handbook [4 MB] has just been finalised by a Group of experts from EU Member States set up as part of the European Agenda for Culture and the Council Work Plan 2011-2014.
Reports on Culture and Structural Funds