Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you Liveurope for inviting me.

You are a key partner in our shared efforts to give emerging artists the opportunity to go on stage, and to meet and develop their audiences across Europe.

Through your work, you contribute to the European music in all its diversity.

It is therefore a pleasure for me to be with you today to address this key question:

What do we need to rebuild the music ecosystem in Europe?

I think we need four things:

First, to recognize the importance of the music ecosystem.

Second, to use the available instruments at our disposal.

Third, to be creative in finding and designing new, innovative, forms of support.

Fourth, to work together.

Music is our universal language.

It holds a unique, creative, and cohesive power, for societies and for individuals. It is a vital part of our cultural heritage, and contributes to our European identity.

It brings us closer together. It builds communities, promotes intercultural dialogue, and stimulates cultural tourism.

Music also generates jobs and growth.

The importance of the music ecosystem…

Has been realized during the COVID-19 crisis.

Live performances, incurred significant losses. Venues and festivals had to suspend activities. Tours and performances were cancelled, shops closed, and new releases put on hold.

Yet, it was to music that we turned to keep our spirits up.

Music has helped us maintain a sense of community at a time when social distancing became the norm.

I want to thank all of you for that.

When setting our first response to the COVID-19 we explicitly mentioned that the cultural and creative sectors, including music, was one of the most severely hit by this crisis.

With this strong political message, the opportunity to use our horizontal instruments was made possible.

  • The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and CRII+;
  • The Temporary Framework for State Aid Rules, and;
  • The Support to Mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency, (SURE).

This possibility also applies to our recovery package: Next Generation EU that, again, reinstated how much these sectors were among the hardest hit. Leaving a hook to be used. But I will come back on this later.

This recognition also fits in the upcoming work of Commissioner Breton on the 14 industrial ecosystems, one of which is on the cultural and creative sectors, where the music belongs.

This brings me to my second point:

Use the available instruments

When we talk about music, our main instrument remains Music Moves Europe.

The implementation of this Preparatory Action continues.

To strengthen the resilience of the sector I decided to redesigned the entire €2.5 million budget for this year, focusing on one call, on the sustainability of our music ecosystem. We have broken this down into three focus points for recovery.

First, a green recovery. We must increase the sector’s environmental sustainability and ecological awareness, especially for live acts, festivals and touring. This means supporting innovative start-ups aiming at decreasing the environmental footprint of online data storing and music distribution.

Second, a digital recovery. We have to adapt to the emerging trends in digital music consumption, distribution and promotion and develop and promote sustainable business models that guarantee the remuneration of artists.

Third, a just and resilient recovery. Music is a cohesive force. It brings us together, and so it can foster solidarity and active citizenship. We need a stronger community role for music venues, better access to music in terms of both education and consumption, with a special focus on disadvantaged groups, fairer remuneration for artists and an equal gender-balance.

In addition to EU funding, a regular exchange with the sector is crucial to identify needs and solutions in the short, medium, and long-term. This is why I decided to strengthen our Music Moves Europe dialogue.

Music Moves Europe has shown that a sector-specific approach is necessary. Therefore, the next Creative Europe programme will integrate a specific support for the sector.

We also to support individual cross-border mobility for artists and cultural operators. We have recently published a call to test this idea to pave the way for a scaling-up of the initiative post-2020.

The next programme will be reinforced also from a financial point of view: the proposed budget is € 1.842 billion in current prices. A 33% increase compared to the current programme.

But as I said, at the beginning, our actions cannot be limited to this programme. Culture is about connections, therefore we need to…

… Be creative in finding and designing new innovative forms of support

Here, I will mention three examples that fall under my direct responsibility.

First, through Erasmus+ we launched an extraordinary call of €100 million to support skills development, digital competencies and social inclusion through arts.

The aim is to link education, training and youth stakeholders with cultural and creative grassroots organisations.

Second, in the next Research and Innovation framework, Horizon Europe, for the first time a dedicated cluster on Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society will see the light.

The work carried will  support  sustainable  growth  and  job  creation  through  contributing  to  a  European industrial policy for cultural and creative industries including design.

In Horizon Europe we will also have the Missions that aim to deliver solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing our world and I see an important role for culture.

Third, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology will launch as of 2022 a new KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community) on the cultural and creative industries.

My main task will be to create synergies among these instruments to look at the innovation and competitiveness of the sector.

For instance, the Creative Labs within Creative Europe can identify projects; the EIT could then step in to scale up these projects and Horizon Europe can join efforts to promote it.

This requires a comprehensive strategy and a need to...

… Work together

First, we need to work with the other EU institutions: European Parliament, Council but also Committee of the Regions.

As we are resuming the negotiations with the co-legislators on Erasmus+, Creative Europe, the European Solidarity Corps, the EIT, and Horizon Europe, I hope that some additional support, also through financial means, can be found.

In this context, I want to thank the chair of the CULT Committee, Sabine Verheyen for her constant support and commitment.

Member States will also be key. As I mentioned at the beginning, when presenting Next Generation EU, we identified the cultural and creative sectors as one of the hardest hit sector.

This allows using a wide range of instruments, but it is not automatic. Member States should, as requested by the European Parliament, earmark 1.5 / 2% from Next Generation EU for the sector by including it in their national strategies.

Another important element is the work with the Committee of the Regions.

Music venues remain hugely important to local communities and to the music industry. A well-functioning club scene generates rich cultural, economic, and social benefits for our local communities.

For this reason, I am working together with the President of the Committee of the Regions on a joint action plan.

Here, I expect Liveurope to take an active role via its deeply rooted music venues across our territories.

Second, we need the active involvement the sector.

I firmly believe that the sector knows best what it needs. Our role as public institutions is to support it, not to tell them what to do.

In this spirit, last spring we launched – Creatives Unite - a platform for and by the sector.

Since then, thousands of users have accessed the platform, posting their contributions, especially music stakeholders. The platform gives access to a multitude of existing resources, relevant networks, and organisations.

Linking it with the State of the Union speech of President von der Leyen, it can serve as a basis for this co-creation space between artists to set up a new European Bauhaus.

Our presence today, together with the Chair of the CULT Committee of the European Parliament, artists, music venues shows our unity.

United in our passion for music, and in our commitment to safeguard the diversity of Europe’s music scene.

Thank you.