European Commission logo


Culture is at the core of Europe's rich heritage and history and has an important role in enhancing the attractiveness of places and strengthening the unique identity of a specific location. Culture and creativity can be important drivers and enablers of innovation as well as an important source for entrepreneurship. Culture is a key driver for increasing tourism revenue, with cultural tourism being one of the largest and fastest growing tourism segments worldwide. Culture also has an important role to play in promoting social inclusion.

What are cultural and creative industries?

Cultural & Creative Industries include a diverse collection of business disciplines that have both a cultural and economic impact, in particular:

  • arts and architecture,
  • web and graphic design,
  • publishing,
  • gaming and multimedia,
  • music and entertainment industry,
  • artistic crafts and fashion design,
  • film,
  • advertising and public relations.

Why invest?

Culture and creativity are not limited to artistic value. Through the use of EU Structural and Investment Funds, their development potential can be harnessed for creating jobs and growth across Europe's regions and cities. For example:

  • The development of creative industry clusters, creative incubators and the digitisation of cultural content have proven particularly beneficial in driving economic transformation towards knowledge-based economy and services.
  • Cultural investments have, through the design of new products and services, given a new lease of life to otherwise declining industries. As part of broader regional innovation strategies, these types of investments can make room for higher-value market niches in peripheral regions.

2007-2013 Programming period

Between 2007 and 2013 the EU invested more than EUR 6 billion in cultural and creative industries, (CCI) broken down as follows:

  • EUR 3 billion to protect and preserve our cultural heritage
  • EUR 2.2 billion to develop cultural infrastructure
  • EUR 775 million to support cultural services

Cohesion Policy 2007-2013: Culture
(344 KB - PDF)

2014-2020 Programming period

For the 2014-2020 programming period with its strong focus on strengthening competitiveness and growth and jobs national and regional authorities are advised to:

  • focus ERDF assistance on supporting new cultural sectors that are closely linked to innovation and creativity
  • harnessing investments into cultural heritage for the development and support of creative industry clusters, e.g. by focusing on enhancing the 'user experience' through digital technology,
  • Enhancing synergies with other funds such as the  Creative Europe Framework Programme, the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprise and SME (COSME),  Horizon 2020, the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, the  European Creative Industries Alliance, national and/or regional programmes for cultural and creative industries and other possible sources of funding