How the EU responds to the coronavirus outbreak in support of the cultural and creative sectors

Mon, 27/04/2020 - 12:04


The European Commission, to complement and support Member States’ actions, has taken a set of measures to tackle the consequences of the novel coronavirus outbreak on the cultural and creative sectors. This page details both the horizontal measures and those related specifically to Creative Europe, the European Commission's programme to support the culture and audiovisual sectors.

The Temporary Framework for state aid measures

The Temporary Framework for state aid measures to support the economy in the current Coronavirus crisis specifically refers to culture as a sector that has been particularly hit.

This Framework enables Member States to use the full flexibility foreseen under state aid rules to support the economy at this difficult time.

Member States can grant compensation to companies for damage suffered due to and directly caused by the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, Member States can grant financial support directly to consumers, for example for cancelled services or tickets that are not reimbursed by the operators concerned.

Find out more about the Temporary Framework for state aid measures.


The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative

The Commission proposed this initiative, consisting of two packages of measures, to provide Member States with immediate liquidity. It consists of unspent cohesion policy funds.

The changes in the regulatory framework will allow Member States to reorient funds rapidly to areas and sectors affected by the Coronavirus crisis. While focus will be primarily on sectors such as healthcare, small and medium enterprises and labour markets, related actions in the field of education and training, as well as the cultural sector, could also be supported. In line with the principle of shared management, it is up to the Member States to identify crisis priorities and refocus structural funding.

Culture authorities should contact their respective Managing Authorities at national or regional level to discuss their requests and organise the funding calls for the response to COVID-19, when possible.  The initiative also includes a 100% financing rate by the EU for measures to fight the crisis, so Member States do not have to frontload money.

Find out more about the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative.


Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE)

The aim of this support package is to help protect jobs and workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It shall provide up to €100 billion of financial assistance to Member States to help workers keep their incomes and help businesses stay afloat across the EU.

These loans will assist Member States to cope with sudden increases in public expenditure to preserve employment. Specifically, they will help Member States to cover two types of costs: those directly related to the creation or extension of national short-time work schemes, as well as costs for other similar measures they have put in place for the self-employed as a response to the current coronavirus pandemic.

More concretely, SURE will support short-time work schemes and similar measures to help Member States protect jobs, employees and self-employed people against the risk of dismissal and loss of income. Firms will be able to temporarily reduce the hours of employees or suspend work altogether, with income support provided by the State for the hours not worked. The self-employed are not forgotten: they will receive income replacement for the current emergency.

Find out more about the Commission proposal.


Protecting small and medium-sized businesses

The Commission announced that an estimated €8 billion is available to provide immediate financial relief to small and medium-sized businesses across the EU. The Commission has unlocked €1 billion from the European Fund for Strategic Investments to serve as guarantees to the European Investment Fund in incentivising local banks and other lenders to provide liquidity to at least 100,000 European small and medium enterprises.

Find out more about the relief fund.


European Guarantee Fund

European Finance Ministers approved the establishment of a European Guarantee Fund of €25 billion that will support up to €200 billion of financing for companies, with a special focus on SMEs. The €25 billion guarantee fund will be funded by EU Member States pro rata to their shareholding in the EIB and/or other institutions. Thanks to the guarantee, the EIB Group will be able to provide existing products to local banks and other financial intermediaries, who are in close contact with businesses in all Member States and can unlock financing to the real economy, without risking financial instability.

Find out more about the Guarantee Fund.


Platforms for knowledge sharing in relation to the COVID-19 impact on the cultural and creative sectors

As announced by Commissioner Mariya Gabriel in the April video conference of EU ministers of culture and media, the Commission is setting up two platforms to help share challenges and solutions at the EU level in relation to the COVID-19 impact on the cultural and creative sectors.

The  platform for EU Member States was launched on 24 April. It will allow culture ministries to exchange good practices.

The second platform, Creatives Unite shall help people in the cultural and creative sectors share information and solutions more easily. It was launched on 5 May within the framework of the Creative FLIP Pilot project co-funded by the European Union.

Find out more about the platform.


Creative Europe programme measures

The European Commission has adapted the Creative Europe programme to the new realities that the coronavirus outbreak has imposed.

In addition, together with the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, the Commission under the responsibility of Commissioners Mariya Gabriel and Thierry Breton is applying the maximum flexibility it can, in the implementation of the programme, within the limits of the applicable legal framework.

This flexibility for beneficiaries includes all actions supported by the programme.

Find out more about the specific measures related to the Creative Europe programme.

Reinforcing links with Member States, Creative Europe Desks, Networks and Platforms

Creative Europe relies on the strong relationship with its stakeholders, and the Creative Europe Desks, established in the Member States, form a very important part of this network.
To reinforce these links, we will  organise an informal virtual meeting before the summer, to inform Creative Europe Desks and involved stakeholders about the guidance put in place.

Cooperation projects to assist the sectors most in need

With an overall sum of EUR 48,5 million, the 2020 Cooperation projects call is the most substantial part of the Creative Europe Culture sub-programme. The call was launched in November 2019 and the evaluation of has been speeded up to take account of the pandemic. A first substantial part of the budget will reach the sector via the pre-financing instalments very quickly. The projects can start in September 2020 and can last up to four years. These cooperation projects are open to all kinds of organisations from the cultural sector, giving much needed support to artists, organisations and creative professionals involved. These projects also have a clear European dimension and will efficiently complement the emergency measures taken at national level.

Support scheme for the cross-border dimension of performing arts works

The COVID-19 crisis has shed a different light on the support scheme for the cross-border distribution of performing arts works (theatre, dance, circus and street arts) developed under the Work Programme 2020. Two issues have gained an acute relevance: the impact of mobility on the environment and the role of digital culture/virtual mobility.

Hence measures will be proposed to mitigate the sector’s carbon footprint. At the same time they will include a forward-looking reflection on the longer-term effects the circulation experience may have. Live recording and streaming of the supported performances will be another way to ensure sustainability and a broader outreach through future viewing experiences online.

The 2 million euro call is foreseen to be published end May 2020, so that the winning tenderer can start the activity at the end of Q3 and funds can reach the sector by the end of the year.

Additional funding for the Translation scheme

The deadline of the last call for the translation of European books, under Creative Europe, has been extended to 28 May. Confinement and closures of book fairs and bookshops are having a big impact on the publishing sector. Therefore, the Commission will speed up the selection procedure and increase the budget for this scheme so the diversity of European literature can be available to all citizens including those living in non-urban and less central regions.

Find out more about the call.

#CreativeEuropeAtHome Campaign

Many activities carried out under the Creative Europe programme cannot take place as planned due to the measures imposed by governments to contain the spread of the virus. Beneficiaries of the Creative Europe programme are asked to showcase their art work online. The aim is to highlight great online cultural activities throughout the Creative Europe community – available to culture lovers currently stuck at home. Based on this idea the European Commission has launched the social media campaign #CreativeEuropeAtHome to promote the rich work beneficiaries of the Creative Europe programme are showing online to their audiences.

Find out more about the campaign.

MEDIA sub-programme

Under the responsibility of Commissioner Breton, special measures for cinemas are foreseen in the context of MEDIA support to the Europa Cinemas network. This is likely to take the form of a €5 million supplementary allocation of funds in the form of “vouchers” for cinemas most severely affected by the lockdown.

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