EU Work Plans for Culture
With individual EU Member States responsible for their own culture sector policies, the role of the European Commission is to help address common challenges, such as the impact of the digital shift, changing models of cultural governance, and the need to support the innovation potential of the cultural and creative sectors.
The Commission is also committed to promoting cultural diversity, protecting cultural heritage, easing obstacles to the mobility of cultural professionals, and supporting the contribution of cultural and creative industries to boosting growth and jobs across the EU, in line with the principles of the 2007 European Agenda for Culture.
The culture sector is, increasingly, a source of job creation, contributing to growth in Europe. The culture sector is also an excellent conduit for promoting social inclusion and supporting cultural diversity. The Agenda thus contributes to both the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs and satisfying Europe's commitments to international agreements, particularly the 2005 Convention.
During the reporting period, the European Agenda for Culture has been implemented via two work plans, the 2011-2014 Work Plan for Culture, and the 2015-18 Work Plan for Culture. The current work plan, adopted by EU Culture Ministers in December 2014, sets out four main priorities for European cooperation in cultural policy-making:
◾Accessible and inclusive culture
◾Cultural and creative sectors: creative economy and innovation
◾Promotion of cultural diversity, culture in EU external relations, and mobility
This list of priorities is complemented by a further 20 concrete actions, primarily the establishment of expert working groups under the Open Method of Coordination. The 2015-18 Work Plan was amended by EU Culture Ministers in November 2015 to create a new working group on Intercultural Dialogue in the context of the migratory and refugee crisis.
A key role of the EU is to collect data and share and exchange information among its Member States. Efforts under the EU Work Plans for Culture are particularly relevant to the Convention– between 2012-2016, the Commission convened 16 working groups of Member States’ experts under the Open Method of Coordination, to share and exchange information on:
- Better access to and wider participation in culture
- Cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue
- Cultural awareness and expression as a key competence in education
- Strategic use of EU support programmes
- Export and internationalisation support strategies
- Financial engineering for SMEs
- Mobility support for small cultural operators, young artists and culture professionals
- Creative partnerships
- Artists’ residencies
- Mobility of collections
- Access to finance
- Access to culture via digital means
- Promoting reading in the digital environment
- Participatory governance of cultural heritage
- Intercultural dialogue in the context of the migratory and refugee crisis
- Developing entrepreneurial and innovation potential
The 2015-18 Work Plan for culture is expected
a) to build on the achievements of the previous Work Plan for Culture (2011-2014) while adding to it a more strategic dimension in order to reinforce the link between the Work Plan and the work of the Council and its rotating Presidencies;
b) to concentrate on topics with a clear EU added value;
c) to take into account the intrinsic value of culture and the arts to enhance cultural diversity;
d) to ensure the excellence, innovation and competitiveness of the cultural and creative sectors by promoting the work of artists, creators and cultural professionals and recognising the sectors’ contribution to the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs, paying particular attention to the digital shift challenges;
e) to mainstream culture in other policy areas, wherever relevant, in accordance with Article 167(4) TFEU;
f) to encourage cross-sectorial cooperation;
g) to ensure synergies with the Creative Europe Programme;
h) to work towards evidence-based policy.
To date, the OMC working groups have produced a variety of good practice manuals , and in 2013 an external evaluation concluded that the OMC generally functioned well and was relevant to the policy objectives in the Work Plan for Culture. The evaluators pointed out that the OMC adds value primarily through mutual learning and the exchange of best practices, but recognised that its impact on national policy could be improved.
Yes, primarily meeting expenses (staff time and experts’ travel costs), met by the Commission from an EC-wide budget line (not Creative Europe). Member States also contribute (their staff time and part of the travel expenses).
The Work Plans for culture and work of the OMC groups are regularly evaluated, both formally and informally. In 2013 the Commission financed an external evaluation, published on its website. In 2014 the Commission published a Report on the implementation and relevance of the 2011-14 Work Plan for culture. A mid-term review of the 2015-18 Work Plan is currently ongoing.