OPEN LETTER: 45 leading cultural personalities call for the European Council to invest in all our creative futures


Posted on July 14, 2020, 3:20 pm
7 mins

Creators and professionals from the sector call on the EU leaders to be bold and to invest in culture and the arts

Brussels, 13 July 2020. 45 leading cultural personalities including President of the EWC Nina George, international bestselling authors Sebastian Fitzek and Nele Neuhaus, composer Jean Michel Jarre, performance artist Marina Abramović and singer Björk, co-signed a call for the European Council to provide appropriate funding for the recovery and thriving of the cultural sector.


European culture is in the midst of a crisis. How decision-makers choose to respond now will set the scene for the next decade of cultural and creative life in our union.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, theatres, cinemas, music halls, museums and other venues of cultural expression have remained closed. Many of those venues will simply not reopen.

The result has been to squeeze the life out of the cultural and creative sectors, exacerbating the desperately perilous situation in which culture, the arts and the creative sectors at large find themselves.

Cultural and creative sectors are Europe’s third largest employer. Meaning the economic consequences of a stagnant sector have reached far beyond the realm of culture.

But, despite such a diminished cultural landscape, it is to culture that we have all turned during this time of great personal and societal adversity.

It is music that has brought us together on balconies, films and TV series that have entertained us, documentaries, books, performances, pieces of art that have all truly comforted us in our solitude and helped us to escape intellectually and creatively.

Europe’s most treasured asset is our culture. It is a culture united in its diversity, a culture that draws in millions of people from all over the world every single month.

Cultural expression in all its diversity is at the heart of what is meant to be European.

Despite strong messages from leaders of the European Union that our sectors would be firmly supported, the current proposals for a recovery plan and a European budget strangely fail to consider the needs of the cultural and creative sectors.

As creators and professionals from the sector, we call on the EU leaders to be bold and to invest in culture and the arts, to invest in all our creative futures.

We need a plan that revives our cultural ecosystem and inspires the next generation of Europeans.

This means providing the financial resources at a level which will allow art, culture, cultural and creative enterprises, creators and creative workers to continue their work, to survive and thrive into the future.

This is an opportunity for the EU to amply demonstrate that it can honour its values. The time is now for Europe to be ambitious and invest in its creative future.

Culture is the fertile soil out of which Europe’s next generation will unite and flourish. Let’s show Europe’s next generations what kind of future we want to offer them!

Download the Letter and 45 signatories (from 13.7.2020)


Press Reviews

The Bookseller Magazine, 15.7.2020
Writers and artists call for EU funds to protect European culture: Artists including writer Nina George and singer Björk have called for the Council of the European Union to provide extra funding for Europe’s cultural sector following the coronavirus crisis. In an open letter supported by the Federation of European Publishers, EU leaders are warned that many venues closed by the coronavirus crisis may never open again. Alongside George, who is president of the European Writers’ Council, the letter has been signed by writers including Nele Neuhaus, Nina Bouraoui, Olivier Guez, Sebastian Fitzek and Tim Etchells. To the article by Marc Chandler

Actualitté, 15.7.2020
L’initiative, soutenue par le Conseil des écrivains et la Fédération européenne des éditeurs, demande au Conseil européen d’apporter un soutien financier. Le secteur culturel, après la crise du coronavirus, est des plus fragiles. To the blog by Clément Solym (in French)

Politico, 14.7.2020
Artists, including performing artist Marina Abramović, film director Agnieszka Holland, writer Nina George, composer Jean Michel Jarre and singers Björk and MØ, have issued a last-minute call for the EU to “be bold and to invest in culture and the arts, to invest in all our creative futures.” In May 2018, the Commission proposed €1.8 billion for its Creative Europe program, but in May this year, it reduced that amount to €1.5 billion, without including any distinct support for cultural and creative sectors within its recovery mechanisms, Simon Van Dorpe writes in to report. To the article

La Republica, 13.7.2020
The Spanish filmmakers Isabel Coixet and Agustín Almodóvar or the artist Marina Abramovic are some of the names that sign a letter in which cultural personalities ask European politicians to invest in culture. To the article (in Spanish), 13.7.2020 To the article (in Catalan)

El Pais, 13.7.2020
European intellectuals sign a manifesto to save culture: The signatories stress that during these hard days of confinement the population has taken refuge in culture on the internet, almost always free of charge. “As creators, intellectuals, academics and professionals in the sector, we encourage European politicians to be bold and invest in culture and the arts, to invest in all our creative futures. We need a plan to revive our cultural ecosystem that can inspire the next generation of Europeans.” Signatories are, among others: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Phil Manzanera, Nina George, Joan Fontcuberta, Alberto Iglesias and Moritz Eggert. To the article (in Spanish)