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Cultural and creative sectors

Updated: Jan 9, 2021

Cultural and creative sectors are comprised of all sectors whose activities are based on cultural values, or other artistic individual or collective creative expressions and are defined in the legal basis of the Creative Europe Programme.

Support of these sectors is based upon data elaborated by Eurostat as part of European Statistical System (ESS)-net Culture and its work in further coordinating the harmonisation of statistics on the cultural and creative sectors (for instance, through the review of Indicator typologies and terminologies, communicating through indicators and relevance for policy making).

Cultural and creative industries, on the other hand, entail a focus on the further stages of the value chain - including the production and dissemination stages of industrial and manufacturing operations.

The importance of cultural and creative sectors

Cultural and creative sectors are important for ensuring the continued development of societies and are at the heart of the creative economy. Knowledge-intensive and based on individual creativity and talent, they generate considerable economic wealth. More importantly, they are critical to a shared sense of European identity, culture and values. In economic terms, they show above-average growth and create jobs - particularly for young people - while strengthening social cohesion.

Supporting cultural and creative sectors: The Creative Europe programme

The Creative Europe programme consists of the Creative Europe CULTURE  and Creative Europe MEDIA (audio-visual) as well as the Cross-sectoral strand.

The Creative Europe supports cross-border cooperation and networking activities for all cultural and creative sectors and co-finances important platforms and networks.

In order to prepare the programme proposal for the upcoming Creative Europe programme 2021-2027, the Commission consulted with a wide range of stakeholders and Member States experts. These consultations were held in parallel with the interim evaluation of the 2014-2020 Creative Europe Programme and both concluded that the needs of some sectors were not sufficiently addressed in the current programme.

The proposal for Creative Europe 2021-2027 intends to remedy these shortcomings by including new specific sectorial support to areas such as

  • music

  • architecture

  • books and publishing

  • cultural heritage

These sectoral actions will focus on capacity building, professionalization and talent development, data collection to understand better the sectors, as well as export opportunities. They will build on and complement EU driven actions and projects already carried out over the past years such as the Music Moves Europe initiative.

Innovation, entrepreneurship and finance

Entrepreneurship and innovation are important topics for the cultural and creative sectors and industries. These have been examined more in detail by Member States experts. Results can be found, for example, in the OMC Report on "The role of public policies in developing entrepreneurial and innovation potential of the cultural and creative sectors"  and in a detailed Overview of related EU policies and studies.

Access to finance for the cultural and creative sectors and industries is an equally important topic that Member States experts have looked into and included their findings in the OMC Report on Access to Finance "Towards more efficient financial ecosystems.”

In January 2020, the policy project FLIP (“Finance, Learning, Innovation and Patenting”) for the cultural and creative industries, together with the Commission and Member States experts, organised a conference to look more in detail into what has been achieved concerning finance, innovation and other relevant topics for the cultural and creative sectors.

Beyond those specific initiatives, there is a variety of European support schemes for the sector and the industry tackling those issues:

  • Cultural and Creative Sector Guarantee Facility in Creative Europe 2014-2020

  • European Institute of Innovation and Technology's funding of new Knowledge and Innovation Communities for the  cultural and creative industries

  • options under Horizon Europe

  • Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

  • Worth Partnership Project

  • STARTS initiative (Innovation at the nexus of Science, Technology, and the ARTS), the STARTS Residency programme

  • EU Support for digital Start-ups

Networks in the areas of the cultural and creative sectors at European level

  • European Creative Business Network

  • EU network of creative hubs

  • European incubation network(s) for creativity-driven innovation

  • Pan-European network of Digital Innovation Hubs

  • Regional Initiative for Culture and Creativity

  • European Regions Research and Innovation Network – Working Group on Design and Creativity

In order to support cultural and creative sectors via evidence-based policy-making, the European Commission and Eurostat are working on cultural statistics and other relevant studies.


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