France advocates EU culture strategy for the digital age
Paris, 4 April 2014
In the framework of the Forum de Chaillot on the future of culture and the future of Europe, Aurélie Filippetti, Minister of Culture and Communication, brought together in Paris her European counterparts, joined by Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier, Education and Culture Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. The meeting immediately followed the presentation by Peter Brook, Costa-Gavras, Jean-Michel Jarre, Blanca Li and Macha Makeïeff, at a plenary session of the forum, of an “artists’ call” for a new Europe of culture.
The meeting provided an opportunity to note the ministers’ broad agreement about the central role of culture in the European economic and social model and about the need for European policies to address this fully. With a new Commission for the period 2014-2019 to take its place soon, after the elections to the European Parliament, the time has come for the European Union to create a genuine strategy for culture in the digital age.
Aurélie Filippetti shared with her counterparts the broad principles that must inspire such a strategy. She stressed the need for all European policies to take cultural issues into account and explained what this meant in terms of competition policy, the internal market, the digital economy, taxation, external relations and common trade policy.
She also called on the EU to make cultural creativity in Europe and cultural diversity a priority through the implementation of tailored policies, particularly in the areas of broadcasting, cinema, books and copyright.
The proposals were backed up by the presentation of a road map specifying some 50 concrete proposals for action in every field: aligning VAT rates in the physical and digital worlds, starting dialogue on the issuing of copyright licences, reaching agreement with digital stakeholders to respect intellectual property, relaunching and ensuring the consistency of support for translation, creating a European cultural cities label, speeding up the establishment of the cultural enterprises support fund provided for in the Creative Europe programme, creating a European office for artistic dissemination, etc.
On the basis of the very warm welcome given to France’s conclusions and proposals, the work will now continue within the European Union institutions, particularly at the Culture Ministers’ Councils planned for May and November.
The appointment of an influential culture commissioner who takes a lead on all these challenges, and – in line with the conclusions set out at the Forum de Chaillot – is entrusted with the mission of establishing and leading a cultural strategy, will be a decisive step in building the new European Commission team./.