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Statement by Commissioner Tibor Navracsics on the closure of the European Union Youth Orchestra

  • 1 year 4 months ago
  • programme grantloan

Over the last 40 years, the European Union Youth Orchestra has come to symbolise musical excellence and cultural diversity. Its young musicians and conductors have been outstanding ambassadors of the European idea. I would regret it if the Orchestra were to cease operations from September 2016.

UPDATE On 1 June 2016, the Commission issued a press release on the matter.

The European Commission is proud to have supported the European Union Youth Orchestra over many years. Between 2000 and 2014, our programmes for culture have provided the Orchestra with funding worth €10,500,000.

In 2014, the Commission launched 'Creative Europe', the European Union's new programme for the cultural and creative sectors. It helps artists, creators and performers to find new audiences, develop new skills and embrace the digital world. The programme finances cross-border projects, including platforms and networks of cultural operators; it no longer provides operational grants to single organisations, which should be encouraged to diversify their funding sources. The evaluation of the old programme had showed that operating grants were not the best instrument to support innovative cultural operators; giving grants to projects rather than organisations was considered more effective to allocate limited taxpayers' money to high-impact cultural actions. These rules were agreed with the European Parliament and the EU Member States and apply to every candidate seeking funding under the Creative Europe programme.

Competition for 'Creative Europe' funding is extremely strong, and the programme selects only a limited number of projects. Independent experts ensure that each project is assessed on its merits. The European Union Youth Orchestra successfully applied for funding in 2014, and its project came to an end, as planned, in 2015. However, the Orchestra's next application was unsuccessful, as other projects corresponded better with Creative Europe's priorities. Out of the 112 projects submitted, only 15 were selected for funding.

These calls for proposals are organised every year. Unsuccessful applicants can always improve their bid and try again within a couple of months.

I hope that the European Union Youth Orchestra will be able to find new sources of funding, including under the Creative Europe programme, and continue its activities. It has a proud record of promoting musical talent and cultural diversity, and its disappearance would be a great loss.