On 8 April 2020, the EU cultural ministers discussed the effects of COVID-19 on the cultural and creative sector in an online meeting initiated by the Croatian Presidency of the Council. In the press conference following the meeting, Commissioner Mariya Gabriel gave an overview of measures initiated at EU level that are relevant for the cultural and creative sector.
The following measures are available for the cultural and creative sectors although the accessibility may sometimes depend on national regulations:
- Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative: 37 billion Euro of the structural funds will be provided to alleviate the effects of the pandemic. Stakeholders of the cultural and creative sector can access these funds if the respective member state agreed to it.
- Temporary Support Employment: This measure is designed to protect against loss of jobs and income and encompasses 100 billion Euro. It is up to the Member States to make it available for creators, artists and other independents in the cultural and creative sector.
- Temporary Framework for State Aid: It enables Member States to use the full flexibility foreseen under State aid rules to support the economy. Culture is listed as one of the sectors most severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis.
For the Creative Europe scheme, the following measures were announced:
1. Maximum flexibility within the existing rules of the ongoing and planned actions: extension of deadlines for applications.
2. Clear instructions to Creative Europe Desks on how to invoke the force-majeure clause.
3. Special measures for cinemas: 5 mio. Euro in the form of vouchers for cinemas most affected by the lockdown.
4. Redirecting the work of the support scheme of the cross-border dimension of the performing arts works towards digital culture and virtual mobility. The call of 2 million Euro will be published in May.
5. Speeding up the selection procedure for the literary translation scheme.
6. Speeding up the evaluation procedure for the 2020 cooperation projects.
7. Explore together with Commissioner Thierry Breton how the Guarantee Facility for the cultural and creative sector can adapted to mitigate the effects of the crisis on the sector.
Additionally, Commissioner Gabriel proposed to set up two platforms: one for the Member States to share best practices and one for the sector itself to share their own proposals and solutions and challenges they are facing.