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April Advocacy Update

02 April 2020

Our sector and members are under intense pressure at this point in time. At ELIA we have tried to respond quickly to the needs of our members. As well as having created a survey to assess the impact of COVID-19, the ELIA team is keeping track of relevant policy and funding developments that could provide support at this difficult time. We hope you find this summary useful.

Recent developments in response to COVID-19

EU Emergency Measures
The EU is adopting various new measures to ensure the immediate release of funds to help member states deal with the effects of the current pandemic. Although the measures are general, we recognise that it is vital the cultural sector remains a priority within that framework.

Joint Letter initiated by Culture Action Europe

Earlier this month ELIA Executive Director Maria Hansen signed on behalf of the ELIA network, a joint letter initiated by Culture Action Europe. Sent to Commissioner Gabriel and Members of the Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC), the letter contains a list of proposed ways to deal with the consequences of COVID-19 on Creative Europe and the European Cultural and Creative Sectors.
Proposed support measures include:

-  Extension of eligibility period of Creative Europe projects that had to cancel or postpone events and other activities due to the crisis.
-  Eligibility for compensation of costs already made for planned events and projects that had to be cancelled.
-  Allowing physical events to be replaced with other formats and activities more suited to the current situation.
-  “Provide the possibility to apply for additional funding to mitigate losses and support the rescheduling of events where appropriate".

Read the full letter here

Response from Commissioner Mariya Gabriel
CAE received a swift response from Commissioner Gabriel. In her letter she outlines the following core points:

-  She agrees that there is a need to ‘urgently implement measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 amongst Creative Europe beneficiaries and beyond’
-  The Commission and Croatian presidency of the Council are organising a summit of European Ministers of Culture to discuss these issues and how to move forward together.
-  DG EAC and EACEA are exploring extra flexibility measures regarding ongoing Creative Europe projects. 

Since Commissioner Gabriel's response a video conference has took place on 14 April between Ministers of Education. Read more
Another meeting took place on 8 April with Ministers of Culture and Media Read more

These are good signs however ELIA will continue to campaign alongside others to ensure these good intentions are turned into practical measures.

Letter and Open Petition initiated by Green CULT MEPs signed by ELIA

Supported also by Culture Action Europe this letter demands immediate and unbureaucratic initiatives such as the following:

-  Offer financial aid to the Cultural and Creative Sectors and the whole cultural ecosystem, including through the Corona Response Investment Initiative, proportionally to the size of the CCS in our economy.

-  Ensure access to unemployment and other social benefits for all cultural professionals, with particular attention to freelancers, self-employed and others in atypical forms of work, including creators coming from cultural minorities, and grant them compensation for the discontinuation of income.

-  Provide emergency aid to cultural professionals, especially the independent ones, as well as to small and medium-sized cultural companies, for example in the form of tax relief, loans, (micro-)credits, compensation for losses and non-recoverable costs.  

Read full letter here
Sign the petition

Useful Information & Resources

Funding scheme updates

The European Cultural Foundation has announced a new funding opportunity through the Culture of Solidarity Fund , which is also open for schools, staff and students - deadline for first round is 27 April, 12.00 CEST. The fund supports imaginative cultural initiatives that, in the midst of the global pandemic crisis reinforce European solidarity and the idea of Europe as a shared public space. Find out more

EACEA, the agency that oversees Erasmus+ and Creative Europe (Horizon Europe is a case apart) has adopted new measures to help beneficiaries of the grants (including  Erasmus+ and Creative Europe). Read more
EACEA may consider as eligible expenses of travel or accommodation that which could not be cancelled and which are not reimbursed from other sources.

Where the execution of contracts is impeded because of COVID-19, EACEA may accept replacement activities or delayed performance. View specific statements relevant to Creative Europe and Erasmus+  

Last week EACEA published a new statement related to Erasmus Mundus (exchanges) which contains advice along with an outline of new procedures they have put in place. These include:
-  Due to exceptional circumstances digital learning is eligible (students can continue earning ECTS at distance).

-  The Erasmus Mundus consortia have to submit to the Agency the list of selected students technically by 15 April 2020, but the Agency accepts to delay the submission until 31 May 2020. 

Application deadline extensions
Erasmus+ extended deadline for a number of applications including the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education - now 26 May and Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education (KA203) – now 23 April.
Read more
The European Commission published a Q&A concerning Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps activities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with frequently asked questions. Read more

Deadlines for European Policy Experimentations application have been extended. Read more

Creative Europe has also stated they would be as flexible as possible in the coming time, some application deadlines have been extended, (including the Cultural Cooperation Projects in the Western Balkans 2019).
Read more

Creative Europe MEDIA extended the deadlines of a few more calls for applications Promotion of European Audiovisual Works Online and Support to Festivals.

#CreativeEuropeAtHome campaign - Read more

Horizon 2020 is also postponing deadlines with some exceptions. Read more They have also extended their FAQ section.

Resources for Extra Support
View this interactive collaborative map created by KEA, showing different support measures in different European countries. More info
Culture Action Europe (CAE) in collaboration with the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) is mapping COVID-19 response in Europe. View CAE's overview of governmental measures and aid applying to CCIs state by state here.

Have a look at 'Webcare' Online Events Series

Check out OnTheMove’s listing of resources for the cultural sector.
Another comprehensive resource list is the European Music Council’s reponse to COVID-19.

UNESCO resource: COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response: Global mapping of school closures (primary to tertiary education).

European Training Foundation: overview of education and training responses in ETF partner countries (countries neighbouring EU).
Specific resources for UK members
CHEAD publish their policy briefing for April 2020 which includes useful updates and ways to deal with ‘The Challenge of Now’.
WONKHE is mapping which universities are moved to remote teaching and include further information in response to COVID-19 on their website.


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