Creative Europe: EU Program Launched

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The unprecedented crisis of the cultural and film sectors due to the Coronavirus pandemic has led to an estimated loss of around €200 billion in Europe. In reality, the European continent, although the cradle of great civilizations and excellent creativity, has been suffering for some time and sees its position in the world continually eroded. A world where, for example, among the five film majors there is no place for Europeans: Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Warner Bros and Paramount Pictures. Nor in the world of streaming, dominated by Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, to which Apple TV + and Disney + were added at the end of December 2019. And even more recently, HBO Max and Paramount +. Now a new EU strategy and funding are decided with Creative Europe 2021-2027 Program, for approximately € 2.4 billion, in addition to the € 400 million in support decided last December and those provided for by the National Recovery and Resilience Plans. In total, for the period 2021-2027, the cultural and audiovisual sector could benefit from around € 140 billion in public and private aid and investment. But an unsolved problem remains: the inability of the Europeans to team up and start competing on a world scale. See our previous article.

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However, the new 2021-2027 Creative Europe Programme finally starts. And at least the budget, around €2.4 billion, has increased by 63% compared to the previous one.  The Programme is conceived to support activities on culture and audiovisual production and it is fully funded by the EU, through the European Commission and its executive structures. Read the Commission’s Creative Europe 2021-2027 Factsheet


The 2021-2023 Working Programme: €999.6 million

After the vote in the European Parliament on 17 May 2021 and the confirmation of the Council on 18 May on the 7 years Programme, on 26 May the European Commission presented the Working Program for the first 3 years, 2021, 2022 and 2023, for a total of €999.6 million. 

This is the breakdown of resources for the period 2021-2023:

  • Culture: €329.2 million
  • Media: €579.8 million
  • Other activities: €90.5 million


The 2021 Programme: €300 million

In 2021, Creative Europe will allocate an unprecedented budget of around €300 million to help professionals and artists from all cultural sectors to collaborate across disciplines and borders, in order to find more opportunities and to reach new audiences. This adoption lays the foundations for the first calls for proposals under the new programme.

These calls will be open to all organisations active in the relevant cultural and creative sectors. Creative Europe also aims to increase the competitiveness of cultural sectors, while supporting their efforts to become greener, more digital and more inclusive. Special attention is given to reinforcing the resilience and recovery of the cultural and creative sectors in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Actions covered by Creative Europe include:

  • A scheme to support the translation of literary works and the development of publishing partnerships;
  • EU Prizes in the fields of literature, music, architecture and cultural heritage, as well as the European Capitals of Culture and European Heritage Label initiatives;
  • Strengthening the accessibility and visibility of European audiovisual works across platforms and borders;
  • Creative Innovation Lab – encouraging innovative approaches to content creation, distribution, and promotion across different sectors;
  • Promotion of media literacy, pluralism and freedom, as European values


What will be financed?

Church of St Bartholomew and Gaetano in Bologna (credits: Tommaso Sorrenti)


All projects able to foster cooperation between organisations active in the culture field, to increase the European dimension of creation and circulation of European artistic content as well as to encourage the development, experimentation, dissemination or application of new and innovative practices: books, music, architecture, cultural heritage. Given the religious, cultural and historical importance, as well as the social importance of the European ecclesiastical heritage, there will also be important resources for the conservation and enhancement of Basilicas, Churches, Monasteries, etc.


Projects able to foster European co-development, European slate development , TV and online content, European media talents and skills, actions on markets & networking, European Film Distribution and European Film Sales, Innovative tools and business models. And Networks of European Cinemas, European Festivals, European VOD networks and operators, Films on the move, Subtitling of cultural content, Audience development & film education. And video games.

Cross-Sectorial Strand

In 2021, activities promoted by the rotating presidencies of the EU, Portuguese and Slovenian, will be promoted. Activities for the promotion of the programme and dissemination of results, through conferences, seminars, etc. Moreover, the Creative Innovation Lab program, the NEWS-Journalism partnership and the monitoring and defending media freedom and pluralism, the Creative Europe Desks Program for promoting the Creative Programme at national level and provide relevant information on various types of financial support available under Union policy. In addition, actions on News Media Policy Dialogue, and a final assessment of the 2014-2020 programme.

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Culture and Creative strand in Europe: strong support from EU

The European cultural and creative sectors, in addition to being extremely dynamic and fundamental for social cohesion and cultural growth, are increasingly an important component of the economy. They represent 4.2% of the total EU GDP and 3.7% of the EU workforce.

Since 2014, the EU has given a coherent and organic plan to support the cultural and creative sectors, through the Creative Europe program.
From the outset, the Program consists of three chapters: Culture, Media and Cross-sectorial to foster trans-sectorial cooperation. While the Culture chapter covers all cultural sectors, the Media chapter provides support to the audiovisual and film sectors.

Some 41 countries participated in the Creative Europe 2014-2020 program, which provided over 13,000 grants, each of which benefited several organizations. It has co-financed 647 cultural cooperation projects between 3,760 organizations across Europe, the training of over 16,000 professionals, the development and/or distribution of over 5,000 films, the operations of 1,144 cinemas and the translation of 3,500 books across Europe.


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