Report – Implementation report on Creative Europe – A8-0030/2017 – Committee on Culture and Education

on the implementation of Regulation (EU) No 1295/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Creative Europe Programme (2014 to 2020) and repealing Decisions No 1718/2006/EC, No 1855/2006/EC and No 1041/2009/EC

(2015/2328(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1295/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Creative Europe Programme (2014 to 2020) and repealing Decisions No 1718/2006/EC, No 1855/2006/EC and No 1041/2009/EC(1),

–  having regard to Articles 167 and 173 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on 20 October 2005,

–   having regard to the Joint communication of 8 June 2016 to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations’ (JOIN(2016)0029),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 26 September 2012 entitled ‘Promoting cultural and creative sectors for growth and jobs in the EU’ (COM(2012)0537),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 30 June 2010 entitled ‘Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe’ (COM(2010)0352),

–   having regard to the Commission Green Paper of 27 April 2010 entitled ‘Unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries’ (COM(2010)0183),

–   having regard to Regulation (EU) No 2015/1017 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2015 on the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the European Investment Advisory Hub and the European Investment Project Portal and amending Regulations (EU) No 1291/2013 and (EU) No 1316/2013 – the European Fund for Strategic Investments(2),

–   having regard to the Council conclusions of 27 May 2015 on cultural and creative crossovers to stimulate innovation, economic sustainability and social inclusion,

–   having regard to its resolution of 8 September 2015 on ‘Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe’(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2016 on the role of intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and education in promoting EU fundamental values(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 April 2015 on European cinema in the digital era(5),

–  having regard to the study entitled ‘European capitals of culture: success strategies and long-term effects’ conducted by Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies in 2013 at the request of the Committee on Culture and Education,

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 September 2013 on promoting the European cultural and creative sectors as sources of economic growth and jobs(6),

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 May 2011 on the cultural dimensions of the EU’s external actions(7),

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 May 2011 on unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries(8),

–  having regard to the EU Work Plan for Culture for the period 2015-2018,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional agreement between Parliament, the Council and the Commission on better law-making of 13 April 2016, in particular Articles 20 to 24 thereof on ex-post evaluation of existing legislation,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure, as well as Article 1(1)(e) of, and Annex 3 to, Annex XVII to the Rules,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0030/2017),

A.  whereas the Creative Europe programme has the objectives of safeguarding and promoting European cultural and linguistic diversity, and while promoting Europe’s cultural heritage on the one hand and strengthening the competitiveness of the European cultural and creative sectors on the other;

B.  whereas culture is a key factor in promoting European integration;

C.  whereas Creative Europe, in particular its Culture sub-programme, is seriously underfinanced and is consequently struggling to meet high expectations;

D.  whereas, under Articles 3 and 4 of the Regulation, the promotion of European cultural and linguistic diversity and of Europe’s cultural heritage – and more specifically the promotion of the transnational circulation of cultural and creative works – are among the basic objectives of the programme;

E.  whereas, under Article 12 of the Regulation, the promotion of transnational circulation and mobility – and specifically support for the circulation of European literature with a view to ensuring its widest possible accessibility – are among the priorities of the Culture sub-programme;

F.  whereas the structure of a single programme poses advantages leading to a critical mass being reached and potentially gives visibility to areas still underestimated and facing the same challenges as regards fragmentation, globalisation, lack of data and difficulties in accessing credit;

G.  whereas the structure of the programme in two sub-programmes, preserving the particularities and identity of both, and the addition of a cross-sectoral strand is an asset in providing a better understanding of cooperation and developments in the cultural field, linking up with third countries;

H.  whereas the cross-sectoral strand has only partially developed its strategic goal of promoting transnational and trans-sectoral cultural cooperation;

I.  whereas Creative Europe allows for cooperation and joint action with countries not participating in the programme, and with international organisations which are active in the cultural and creative sectors, such as UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, on the basis of a joint contribution in the pursuit of the programmes objectives;

J.  whereas the system of performance indicators provided for in Article 18 of the Regulation, including indicators for the general objectives of the programme, indicators attached to the MEDIA and Culture sub-programmes respectively and specific indicators concerning the Guarantee Facility instrument, has not been set or become operational to date;

K.  whereas the current evaluation system has proved unsuited to the nature and specific nature of the programme and should therefore be improved;

L.  whereas specific actions, such as the European Capitals of Culture initiative, including its network, prizes and the European Heritage Label, have revealed the potential for sustainable local economic development and cultural tourism and should therefore be enhanced and promoted more proactively;

M.  whereas a specific call for refugees joining in European society was launched in 2016 within the cross-sectoral strand, to promote and support creativity and intercultural dialogue;

N.  whereas the ‘cooperation projects’ funding area of the Culture sub-programme takes up around 70 % of the sub-programme’s budget, is highly popular among cultural operators and is aimed at common approaches on a cross-border basis, allowing an open formulation of unpredictable, highly innovative and creative projects, which are explicitly welcomed;

O.  whereas, although the regulation provides for the establishment of bilateral agreements with third countries with a view to their participation in the programme or parts of it, to date only a few countries have completed the procedure;

P.  whereas, thanks to Parliament’s action, culture, cultural and creative industries (CCIs) and the audiovisual sector have been included, albeit inadequately, in the Erasmus +, Horizon 2020 and Cosme multiannual programmes, the Structural Funds, and the priorities of the European Investment Strategic Fund (EISF);

Q.  whereas there is a strong synergy between informal learning and the creative and media sector, as many arts, media and culture organisations provide informal education opportunities;

R.  whereas the proportion of successful applicants is 15 % in Culture and 44 % in MEDIA, but even lower (32 %) in the latter sub-programme if automatic schemes are excluded;

S.  whereas MEDIA has so far registered a total of 13 000 applications, and awarded more than 5 500 projects;

T.  whereas the automatic points system in MEDIA, which is aimed at ensuring, a level playing field between the Member States, leads to market distortion and heavily penalises countries with high audiovisual production capacity;

U.  whereas the type of grants awarded for cooperation projects within the culture sub-programme of Creative Europe fails to fit the needs of networks, which rely on operational structure and activities, as in the previous programme Culture 2007-2013;

V.  whereas the administrative management (application, evaluation and reporting processes) has been criticised by stakeholders as still being burdensome; stresses, therefore, the need for simplification of the application procedure in order to facilitate access to the programme and to encourage participation among potential beneficiaries;

W.  whereas the Creative Europe Desks (CEDs) are the crucial intermediary between the Commission, the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) and the applicants, and whereas they should be better informed about the ongoing decision-making process and should be closely involved in providing information on projects and promoting their results;

X.  whereas the operators deplore the high administrative burden in the application process, which includes extensive guidelines and a large number of documents with sometimes contradictory information;

Y.  whereas the registering of companies within the European Commission Authentication Service (ECAS) system is reported as problematic; whereas, however, the e-form is greatly welcomed;

1.  Urges the Member States to increase the Creative Europe budget to bring it into line both with the expectations of European citizens and with the ambitions of each sub-programme, thus accepting that the values of cultural production cannot be gauged in terms of economic figures alone and enabling more efficiency and better results;

2.  Welcomes a number of streamlining measures in terms of programme management that have been in place since 2014;

3.  Regrets that a lack of financial capacity continues to be one of the main obstacles for potential applicants, along with administrative and regulatory obstacles; encourages the Commission, the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) and the Creative Europe national desks to try to address the under-representation of micro- cultural operators among funded organisations and certain sectors in the Culture sub-programme;

4.  Asks the Commission to enhance the programme’s consistency with all relevant EU policies and other funding sources;

5.  Asks the Commission to ensure a good coordination between the DGs in charge of Creative Europe, as well as with EACEA and CED, taking care of the different phases in the implementation of Creative Europe, recalling that the role of CED and EACEA is crucial as it involves direct links not only with beneficiaries, but the whole cultural and creative sector;

6.  Asks the Commission to work as close as possible with UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the OECD in order to develop a stronger basis of joint contributions in the pursuit of programme objectives and impact evaluation, especially in the international dimension and in terms of respect for the specific human and economic values of culture and creation;

7.  Calls on the Commission to retain the present structure of Creative Europe, while examining and better defining the specificities of the two different sub-programmes, to strengthen the potential of the cross-sectoral strand, and to verify whether the Guarantee Fund is effective in its implementation;

8.  Asks the Commission to strike a better balance, in both sub-programmes and the guidelines for evaluators, between the artistic and creative component and the managerial and innovative aspects, especially in the case of CCI;

9.  Asks the Commission to make use of the system of performance indicators provided for in Article 18 of the legal basis of Creative Europe, thus insisting on the artistic and creative component of the programme, which is too often sacrificed to pure economic considerations such as managerial capacities or quantitative audience development;

10.  Urges the Commission to set more than the existing six areas of expertise for evaluators, in order to cope more effectively with the specific areas;

11.  Urges the Commission and EACEA to improve the evaluation procedure by increasing the number of evaluators in the first phase, and to provide for a de visu collegial decision round to select candidates from among those shortlisted in the second phase; stresses that transparency needs to be very high and the grounds for rejecting projects need to be very thoroughly and clearly explained, in order not to jeopardise acceptance of the programme on grounds of incomprehensibility;

12.  Asks the Commission to provide training and capacity-building opportunities for cultural operators who wish to improve their skills with respect to application procedures, overall project management and project implementation;

13.  Asks the Commission and EACEA to better support cultural operators in finding partners for the cooperation projects, through measures including but not limited to dedicated matching sections within the most important European cultural events, improving the existing search tools and databases, and organising networking opportunities on previously announced themes;

14.  Asks the Commission and the EACEA to take measures in order to improve the transparency of the contestation procedure for rejected applications, thus reducing the overall frustration among candidates and increasing the programme’s credibility on the long-term;

15.  Urges the Commission to further simplify the application and reporting procedures by limiting and simplifying guidelines and other documents, making the time-sheet less rigid, and drawing up a template for the cooperation agreement;

16.  Calls on the Commission to use all available tools for even better promotion and dissemination of results of the implemented projects, as well as information about the European added value of all actions carried out under the programme;

17.  Urges the Commission to avoid changing or adding new priorities and rules without giving the CED and stakeholders the necessary time to prepare for the next calls;

18.  Urges the Commission to further simplify the financial aspects, also by extending the lump-sum instrument and encouraging greater use of flat-rate reimbursements and use criteria that do not hamper small projects’ access to funding, and to make sure that the final payment of the grants is realised in the best time possible, which should be a criteria of excellence for the work of EACEA, both for the Culture and MEDIA sub-programmes;

19.  Notes that there are significant national differences in the salary levels of the staff involved in cooperation projects, which then lead to considerable discrepancies in terms of cofinancing power between partners from different Member States; calls on the Commission, therefore, to consider a possible alternative for the evaluation of the staff’s work within the cooperation projects, based on other indicators than solely the pay grade;

20.  Urges the Commission to continue, together with Eurostat, to establish specific criteria appropriate to the specific nature of the sectors (creation, cultural and artistic value, innovation, growth, social inclusion, community building, internationalisation, entrepreneurial improvement, aptitude to create spillovers and crossovers, etc), and to evaluate the possible inclusion of the Joint Research Centre in the process; in this respect, highlights the importance of building high-quality resources of knowledge about the sectors, as well as statistical research and access to comparable data resources in the field, thus enabling the effective monitoring and analysis of the cultural, economic and societal impact of policies in the cultural and creative sectors;

MEDIA

21.  Welcomes the current work of the Commission and EACEA modifying the automatic points system in order to allow a genuine level playing field, taking into account, in a balanced way, all of the criteria mentioned in the ‘Creative Europe’ programme (transnational character, development of transnational cooperation, economies of scale, critical mass, leverage effect), as well as production capacities and the existing national support schemes for the audiovisual industry;

22.  Acknowledges that MEDIA has proved to be deeply rooted in the diversified audiovisual sector and efficiently supports cultural diversity and industrial policy;

23.  Encourages greater development of subtitling and dubbing in order to facilitate the circulation of audiovisual products within and outside the EU;

24.  Recommends that the European audiovisual heritage be secured and made available for the purposes of study, audience engagement and economic promotion, by digitising films and audiovisual archives;

25.  Underlines that, in an international and increasingly competitive film landscape, the European audiovisual sector still needs to uphold measures to safeguard its diversity and independence; stresses that direct support for European audiovisual production is needed, particularly during the project development phase, and should take place by extending training to cover more actions and strengthen the sector’s competitiveness;

26.  Recommends stepping up actions for neighbouring countries under the programme, with a view to boosting the promotion of European works on their territory and of joint creative projects;

27.  Acknowledges that European online platforms are still not competitive at international level, despite the support provided for online distribution and that European content on existing platforms is difficult to find or access;

28.  Welcomes the splitting of audience development between film literacy, with anemphasis on film education in schools, and audience development initiatives;

29.  Underlines the need for the Commission to put forward a data-driven European audience engagement project, which would aim at exploring and strengthening the capacity of Europe’s audiovisual and film sector to collect, analyse and predict data concerning audience behaviours with a view to increasing demand for non-national European films;

30.  Underlines that the support of independent TV producers for fiction series seeking to compete at world level is ongoing, in particular in order to provide authentically European responses to the current strong demand for high-quality series, even if the best results so far have been achieved in the documentary and children’s sectors;

31.  Asks the Commission to maintain its support for cinema networks, such as Europa Cinemas, that promote European film worldwide by financially and operationally helping cinemas which show a significant number of European films, and underlines the crucial role that cinemas have in raising audience awareness and maintaining the social element of the cinema experience;

32.  Asks the Commission to change the bonus system for simultaneous releases in theatres and VOD;

33.  Recommends providing evaluators with a set of tools taking into account the specificity of each country’s support scheme, in order to guarantee a level playing field in MEDIA;

34.  Calls on the Commission to raise the funding ceiling for European video games, in order to take account of their high and growing production costs; stresses, in addition, the need to review the eligibility criterion relating to the exclusively narrative nature of a video game in order to widen the range to include projects with transnational distribution potential (sports games, sandbox games, etc.) and to incorporate ‘gameplay’ into the evaluation criteria for projects, in order to reflect the centrality of this aspect in the success of a product;

Culture sub-programme

35.  Asks the Commission to balance the weight of the economic dimension with the intrinsic value of arts and culture per se, and to focus more on artists and creators;

36.  Recommends that European cooperation projects take into account innovation, mobility and extended coproductions;

37.  Asks the Commission to introduce possible measures to limit the disproportion between the number of beneficiaries and the number of applicants including, among other things, an increase in the budget for the Culture Sub-programme, more adequate representation of all cultural and creative sectors, and more support for smaller-scale projects;

38.   Highlight the importance of translation for the promotion of the linguistic diversity heritage, and recommends that literary translation projects include the promotion of books and reading, as well as supporting participation in book fairs, including the consideration of an annual European Book Fair in order to increase book circulation, promote European literary exchanges and ensure the presentation of different national literatures, as well as access to literacy for all, including for people with disabilities;

39.  Welcomes the creation of ‘hubs’ (European platform projects) to support and enable emerging artists and creators to exchange and work together;

40.  Insists that stable and highly representative European cultural networks are fundamental for the visibility of culture and artistic activities, in Europe and with third countries, as they are often the first to go into cooperation with new fields, sectors or countries; considers that their role as coordinators of actions and promoters of culture and creativity for entire artistic domains should be supported with operational grants; believes that, in this respect, clear and transparent selection criteria should be established beforehand;

41.  Calls on the Commission and the EACEA to give the Culture sub-programme opportunities to present itself externally and to hold structured meetings with operators in the sector;

42.  Recommends that the European Theatre Prize be reintroduced and appropriate funding be allocated;

43.  Underlines the success and significance of the European Capitals of Culture (ECOC) scheme, based on the dynamics of the cities and regions involved in the process, making out of the label and the still very modest EU financial contribution a real asset for further financing and activities, well beyond the actual year;

44.  Welcomes the upcoming extension of the ECOC scheme to candidate and EFTA countries as from 2020, and recommends better spreading of this experience within the EU and beyond;

45.  Recommends that the European Heritage Label be given greater visibility, and stresses the significance of the (material and immaterial) sites concerned as regards European identity and promoting a common feeling of belonging to Europe, building the EU and learning about diverse heritage for a better future;

46.  Recommends that steps be taken to coordinate and adequately support the initiatives under the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 with Creative Europe, beginning with the preparatory year 2017, albeit through a budget dedicated line and not using resources allocated to the Culture sub-programme, as proposed by the Commission;

47.  Asks the Commission to consider ways of facilitating the access of refugees versed in the arts to the Creative Europe programme;

Cross-sectoral strand

48.  Urges the Commission to develop and fully use the potential of the strand in order to achieve its objectives, as set in the regulation, and in particular the promotion of transnational and cross-sectoral cooperation;

49.  Recommends the introduction of three new support measures under the strand: (a) Creative Europe Mundus for transnational cooperation, (b) social inclusion and (c) innovative crossover and cross-sectoral projects;

50.  Asks the Commission to seek to achieve a geographic and sectoral balance in the Guarantee Facility, to ensure equal access for small-scale organisations and grassroots initiatives and projects from all Member States, to evaluate its impact in particular on small cultural enterprises, cultural mediators and networkers, and to examine possibilities as regards the development of synergies with EFSI and with other programmes, in particular COSME, so as to ensure that the Guarantee Facility is used in the most efficient way in order to help the cultural and creative sector;

51.  Looks forward to seeing the initial results of the Financial Guarantee Facility launched in 2016; expects this new market instrument, by easing access to loans for SMEs and microbusinesses, to help towards scaling up cultural and creative projects, which are in sectors which account for 4.4 % of the EU’s GDP and 3.8 % of its workforce, so that they realise their full potential as a promising source of growth and jobs and as drivers of competitiveness, cultural diversity and cross-border cooperation; strongly regrets, however, that the Facility will be functionally operational only in those countries where a similar instrument is already in place;

52.  Welcomes the actions taken by the Commission and EACEA to provide training and equalise skills in all the CED and recommends that such efforts be pursued;

53.   Calls on the Commission and EACEA to improve the communication and exchange of information with CEDs about ongoing decision-making processes, including on the financial instruments and on new cross-sectoral initiatives; recommends the Commission, in order to improve the implementation of the programme, to take into account the expertise of CED upstream and downstream of the selection procedure, and to make the tools and documentation produced by CED available online as models of good practices; underlines the need for better collaboration between CEDs in order to make them more effective advisory tools for theirnational applicants; points out that the confidential sharing of evaluation reports, even negative ones, can help improve their capacity, and calls on the Commission to increase the transparency of the evaluations and selection procedures;

Recommendations for future generations of the programme

54.  Recommends that Creative Europe be continued, reviewed and improved over the period 2021-2028, as a programme that includes all cultural and creative sectors, with emphasis on high-quality projects, with the same value and priorities, with two sub-programmes and a cross-sectoral strand including training, audience development, market access, social inclusion, cooperation, cross-sectoral and crossover projects and peer-to-peer learning, as well as communication, studies, support tailored to the cultural and creative sectors, a guarantee facility, and the support for CEDs;

55.  Welcomes, in the light of the significant influx of migrants and refugees into the EU in recent years, the programme’s growing intercultural dimension, which it is hoped will result in more projects that boost cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue and promote multilingualism as of 2017; underlines that this should be supported as a regular programme component, given that cultural integration is likely to remain a challenge in many Member States for years to come.

56.  Recommends that the legal basis for the next programme should explicitly include the promotion of cultural and artistic quality and the intrinsic value of culture among the objectives of the programme and the sub-programmes, as well as among the selection and evaluation criteria;

57.  Calls on the Commission, in the revision of the MEDIA sub-programme, to examine whether the support given could be made more efficient by assigning smaller projects to the production, festivals, cinemas and distribution programme strands;

58.  Urges the Commission to take a proactive approach to the admission of new countries to the programme, with special status for European Neighbourhood South and East countries;

59.  Notes that European film co-productions are crucial in order to ensure that our products are sufficiently competitive and to meet market challenges, and recommends that they be developed by using proportionate methods and resources, also by collaborating with flagship European institutions in the sector, such as Eurimages;

60.  Calls on the Commission to assess whether it would make sense, given the multiplicity of the creative industries, to create a European observatory on culture and creativity comparable to the European Audiovisual Observatory, with standards comparable to those of the European Audiovisual Observatory, and, if so, calls on it to elaborate qualitative criteria corresponding to the specific nature of the sectors;

61.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.

(1)

OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 221.

(2)

OJ L 169, 1.7.2015, p. 1.

(3)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0293.

(4)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0005.

(5)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0108.

(6)

OJ C 93, 9.3.2016, p. 95.

(7)

OJ C 377 E, 7.12.2012, p. 133.

(8)

OJ C 377 E, 7.12.2012, p. 142.