Recovery Plan : Where Is The Culture ?

29 mai 2020 par - Vue(s) d'Europe

So nothing happened. Since March, the creative and cultural sector has not been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis, theaters have not been stopped and banned from playing in many European states, cultural life has not been shutdown, cinemas did not have to close their doors nor the shooting stopped suddenly, the authors continue to work normally and to be paid for this, and the festival season promises to be exciting.

Nothing has happened in the world of culture, to believe the European recovery plan, unveiled on Wednesday by the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen, who is on this subject of support for the culture of intriguing modesty: the word culture appears only once in the 18 pages of the plan’s presentation.

When discretion and silence give way to numbers, the result is not hardly more engaging and reassuring. Thus, the budget for the Europe Creative program, a true figurehead of European cultural policy, is displayed with an amount of € 1.52 billion for the period 2021-2027, ie … a drop of 7% compared to a previous Commission proposal which dated May 2018. We are far from doubling the budget defended by the President of the Culture Committee in the European Parliament, Sabine Verheyen, by wishing a budget of € 2.8 billion. We are even further from all of the credits, funds and monetary tools mobilized by Europe and the European Central Bank which exceeds 2000 billion €.

Faced with the terrible situation already experienced in this difficult period by authors, artists, intermittent workers, companies that bring culture to life in Europe and which make it a territory of creation unique in the world, facing the announced cascade of aborted creations, unemployment for some, bankruptcy for others, Europe runs a major risk: devitalize its cultural fabric, make it lose its strength and its diversity, put it on the ground without it being able to recover and in the end, passing through profit and loss a considerable asset for the European economy, a collective wealth which is also an element of power and a set of values ​​which make sense in a Europe which is altogether disunited and watched over by populism and extremism.

It is a fact that Europe never advances as much as it did during crises. It proves this in part with this plan presented today which shows unprecedented audacity by following in the footsteps drawn by France and Germany and heading towards the creation of a common debt, raised directly by the European Union on the markets.

Unfortunately, it does not push this audacity, which combines so well with culture, to make its own revolution by pushing the limits of its budgetary equation for creation and culture. This exceptional and dangerous period that we are living in is calling for thinking outside the box and inventing new policies in favor of this sector, the first to have been affected by the crisis with the closure of cultural venues and the cancellation of shows, which will no doubt be one of the last to restart with the many health constraints that will surround it.

If nothing changes between now and the next European Council, this recovery plan for Europe may well encourage a form of decline for culture. Original but deeply shocking!

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