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Skills and Mobility

The Lisbon Treaty reaffirms the freedom of movement as a right of every EU citizen to live and work in another EU country.

For artists and cultural professionals, working across borders is crucial for enhancing creative encounters and increasing opportunities to produce and exchange cultural goods and services, and this in turn has a great benefit for the economy – through job creation and by injecting innovation and creativity into other sectors such as business and education.

The European labour market can only function correctly if workers are free to move between jobs and occupations as well as countries and regions. It is the Commission's responsibility to ensure that the freedom of movement of workers between Member States, as enshrined in the Treaties, is guaranteed and correctly implemented. Mobility and skills are interconnected as promoting skills development and combating skills shortages and bottlenecks - which act as a brake on the EU's economy - have positive impact on occupational mobility.

Artists and professionals in the cultural field are part of the EU labour market. However, compared to highly mobile workers in other fields, they encounter particular challenges when seeking to be mobile, which is why the European Agenda for Culture has set the promotion of their mobility as one of its objectives.

The Council Work Plan for Culture 2008-2010 set the improvement of the mobility conditions for artists and other professionals in the cultural field as one of its priority areas. The current Council Work Plan for Culture 2011-2014 in addition to promoting mobility, focuses on creative partnerships and the acquisition and development of skills and competences. (For more information, read Mobility of artists and cultural professionals)

Promoting creativity in education is an objective of the European Agenda for Culture, but also a priority of the Education and Training 2020 strategic framework.

The cultural sector should build on the potential of culture as a concrete input/tool for life-long learning, and promote culture and arts in informal and formal education (including language learning).

There is ample evidence showing thatarts and creativity may be catalysers of positive changes in education. They may bring about significant improvement on two fronts: they improve pupils' performance; and they increase motivation and interest in learning, thus contributing to prevent or bring a remedy to early school leaving. (For more information, read Synergies with education)

For the mobility of collections see the section on Cultural heritage.

In depth


Preparatory action


Culture in EU External Relations



Pilot project on the economy of cultural diversity

Pilot project on the economy of cultural diversity

@diversity: innovative ideas for cultural and creative sectors in Europe