The implementation of the Convention and the preparation of this report has been discussed among EU Member State representatives in Brussels and Paris, European External Action Service (EEAS) interservice meetings on UNESCO, and the European Commission (EC) Inter Service Group on Culture. This Inter Service Group is attended by up to 20 different Directorates General in policy areas including digital, development cooperation, research, enterprise, taxation and statistics.
This report is a factual description of relevant measures taken in the reporting period. Civil society and cultural and creative organizations have been consulted on the measures themselves, including through the EC’s Structured Dialogue with the cultural sector (Voices of Culture), European Networks and Platforms, Music Moves Europe dialogues and European Creative Hubs Network (funded under Creative Europe). For more details see the section on civil society, and sections in each of the measures questionnaires on NGO and private sector involvement.
The EC actively seeks to hear and discuss the ideas of multiple stakeholders in policy-making. The primary means of doing this is public consultations, via the European Commission’s “Have your say” website https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say_en. This currently shows hundreds of open and recent feedback opportunities on EU policy developments relevant to culture, digital, trade, copyright and cooperation with international partners. The EC has also organized many stakeholder meetings and events which have informed the measures within this report; these are described in the civil society section and under other individual measures.
With regard to statistical data, there are many statistics relating to culture available at EU level, including in relation to the diversity of cultural expressions. However, not all are available in the format required in this questionnaire. For this reason we have not attempted to complete the statistical questions in the UNESCO form, and are instead submitting in annex the 2019 Eurostat publication on Culture Statistics, also available online here: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-statistical-books/-/ks-01-19-712). This publication presents comprehensive data, with accompanying methodological explanations, for the EU and its Member States in relation to cultural employment, cultural enterprises, international trade in cultural goods, cultural participation, use of ICT for cultural purposes and private cultural expenditure. These include harmonized data on:
- employment in the EU Member States, including in cultural businesses. More recent (annual) data by domain are publicly available in Eurobase: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/main/data/database - Database by theme/Population and social conditions/Culture and analysed in ‘Statistics explained’ articles on https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Culture .
- ICT use by individuals in the EU Member States. More recent (annual) data are publicly available in Eurobase: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/main/data/database - Database by theme/Population and social conditions/Culture and analysed in ‘Statistics explained’ article on https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Culture .
- international trade in cultural goods. More recent (annual) data are publicly available in Eurobase: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/main/data/database - Database by theme/Population and social conditions/Culture and analysed in ‘Statistics explained’ article on https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Culture . On the value of direct foreign investment in creative and cultural industries, such data are not available at EU level, only at national level.
- cultural participation (by different social variables, including sex) in the EU Member States The most important data source here is the EU-SILC (Survey on Income and living conditions) and its ad hoc module on cultural participation.
Since all EU Member States are Parties to the Convention in their own right, relevant national statistics should also be available in their individual periodic reports.
From 2017-2021 the European Union (EU) has continued actively to implement the 2005 Convention across a range of policies, to promote and protect the diversity of cultural expressions. This report is a factual account of relevant EU initiatives during the reporting period.
It describes over 50 EU measures, including five implemented directly with UNESCO in international partner countries, also Parties to the Convention. Worth over $26m in total, these are the EU-UNESCO Expert Facility - renewed in 2019, which has now supported implementation of the Convention in 25 countries across all 5 UNESCO Regions; Culture|2030 Indicators; ACP-EU Culture and Transcultura programmes in the Caribbean, and the Silk Road Heritage Corridors.
During the reporting period, the EU’s main objectives and priorities under each goal of the Convention have been:
- sustainable systems of governance for culture: boosting support to Europe’s cultural & creative sectors, including through a 63% increase to the Creative Europe programme budget, and legislating for a more diverse audiovisual landscape and fairer marketplace for online content and creators, through revisions to the Audio Visual Media Services and Copyright Directives
- balanced flows of cultural goods and services and increased mobility of artists: promoting artists’ mobility through a new grant scheme i-Portunus in 41 European countries, and support for sectoral initiatives targeting cross-border circulation of repertoire and artists within the EU and with third countries, for instance in the field of music,
- integrating culture in sustainable development: strengthening EU political commitment to the cultural dimension of sustainable development through a Council Resolution in 2019 and working group of EU Member States, and dedicating over EUR 95 million of EU programme support in partner countries to culture, CCIs and implementation of the 2005 Convention.
- promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms: through a new EU Gender Equality Strategy, policy and CSO collaboration on culture and gender equality, status and working conditions of artists and artistic freedom, and continued monitoring and evaluation of media pluralism in the EU.
The two main challenges over the past four years, for the EU and no doubt for other Parties, have been the pace and scope of cultural content digitisation and organizational digitalisation, and the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cultural and creative sectors. Articulating the aims of the Convention also remains challenging, as its breadth and depth is still poorly understood. As the only UNESCO Convention to which the EU is a Party, for the Commission the 2005 Convention demonstrates the importance of UNESCO’s standard-setting role. The EU continues consistently to promote the Convention, to ensure the diversity of cultural expressions remains valued, both intrinsically and economically.
Next steps for EU implementation of the Convention are a matter for future EU political decision-making. Priorities already announced for 2021-25 include supporting EU Member States and cultural and creative sectors in recovery from the pandemic and resilience in rebuilding, defining a new Work Plan for Culture from 2023 onwards, and giving effect to new EU policy collaboration initiatives on culture and sustainable development, the status and working conditions of artists, and artistic freedom. This will be done inter alia in the framework of the EU’s Working Better Together – Team Europe approach, through which EU institutions, Member States and UNESCO are starting work to shape and prioritise collaboration, including in the field of culture.