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ELIA's Statement on European Commission Proposed Recovery Plan

08 June 2020

This a crucial time as the European Commission unveils a proposal for Europe's Recovery Plan from the COVID-19 crisis. An ELIA statement in response to this proposal can be found below.
ELIA supports Culture Action Europe's petition calling for a central place for culture in the EU long-term recovery budget and we invite all our members to sign their petition calling for action here.

Culture and Education are Essential to Sustainable and
Long-Term EU Recovery

A sustainable future for post-pandemic Europe needs an EU Recovery Plan that acknowledges the vital role of arts, culture, and education in our societies. In view of the European Council Meeting of 19 June, ELIA calls on Member States to ensure that much needed funding is allocated to the cultural and education sectors within an ambitious MFF 2021-2027 and additional recovery instruments.

While acknowledging the unprecedented scope of the Recovery Plan presented by the European Commission on the 27th of May, ELIA joins the CULT Committee of the European Parliament in expressing deep disappointment on the reduced funding to both Erasmus+ and Creative Europe.

The European Commission repeatedly expressed the intention of using a reinforced budget and recovery instruments to both support those most affected by the covid-19 crisis and to invest in building a fairer, more resilient and sustainable Europe. [1] It is troubling that these intentions are not (sufficiently) reflected in the Recovery Plan with regards to the cultural and education sectors.

  • ELIA calls on the member states to double the Creative Europe budget.
  • ELIA supports the demands of Culture Action Europe’s Statement Uphold Culture in the EU Budget as co-signatory. 
The cultural sector is not only one of the sectors hardest hit, it also houses unlimited potential in  imagining a better Europe: empathic, innovative and sustainable. Nevertheless, the only EU programme specifically supporting this sector, Creative Europe, has seen its budget decrease in the new MFF proposal to 1,52 billion (from 1,62 billion in the May 2018 proposal). This is all the more distressing since the programme was already underfunded, as reported in its mid-term
Even though Next Generation EU channels no additional funding to Creative Europe, ELIA welcomes the inclusion of the cultural sector as potential beneficiary of cohesion initiative REACT-EU. In the absence of other guarantees or details, we stress the importance that additional funding under REACT-EU actually reaches cultural organisations and operators, especially those most vulnerable (e.g. freelance employees).
  • ELIA calls on Members States to increase funding to Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe in order help realize their full potential for cohesion, international cooperation, research, mobility and inclusion. 
The Commission’s proposal acknowledges that “young people are likely to be particularly hard hit by the crisis” and highlights the importance of education and research in addressing economic and social challenges, which are now more urgent than ever. It is therefore disappointing that funding for Erasmus+, Europe’s key education programme, has decreased compared to the 2018 proposal to a total of 24,6 billion. This is especially so, since the Commission originally supported plans to triple the Erasmus+ budget.[3] While the new proposal does allocate more funding to Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ compared the version presented in February 2020, this is not nearly sufficient to realize the full potential and ambitions of these programmes.
A future-oriented Recovery Plan starts with culture and education.


[1] Speech by President von der Leyen at the European Parliament Plenary on the new MFF, own resources and the Recovery Plan (13 May 2020); European Commission Communication ‘The EU budget powering the recovery plan for Europe’ (27 May 2020); Factsheet: The EU Budget Powering the Recovery Plan for Europe (27 May 2020).
[2] Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council ‘Mid-term evaluation of the Creative Europe programme’(2014-2020) (30 April 2018).
[3] Mission Letter from President Ursula von der Leyen to Commissioner Mariya Gabriel (December 2020).

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