Original publication: July 2018
Author: Katarzyna Iskra, Research Administrator
Short link to this post: http://bit.ly/2LeMAjd

Internal note on the Commission’s proposal for Creative Europe 2021-2027[1]

This internal note gives a first overview of the main changes between the current Creative Europe Regulation and the Commission’s proposal for the next programme generation from 2021 to 2027. The main themes addressed are the architecture of the programme, its budget, the participation of third countries and decision-making procedures. The final section draws preliminary conclusions.

Please note that this document is a draft designed to provide a first orientation on the new programme proposal. It does not constitute a final assessment of the proposal by the author or the Policy Department and may still undergo revision.

The Creative Europe programme is the only EU multiannual programme directly targeting the cultural and creative sectors (CCS). The new proposal for the period 2021-2027 builds on the current Creative Europe Programme (2014-2020) which united under one umbrella two distinctive streams of activities which used to be separated in previous periods: the Culture programme and the MEDIA programme. The merger of the 2007-2013 Culture and MEDIA programmes into a single Creative Europe programme was justified by the Commission by the fact that the sectors, albeit different operationally, are facing the same challenges and thus should serve the same general objectives. Main novelty of the current programme was the cross-sectorial strand addressing transversal aspects between the two sub-programmes and including a self-standing financial instrument aimed at facilitating access to finance for the cultural and creative industries, the Guarantee Facility. 

Architecture of the new programme

The objectives of the programme are now set out in Article 3 which makes reference to the general and specific objectives.

The general objectives are slightly restructured but remain unchanged in substance and refer to promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity and reinforcement of the competitiveness of the CCS. As stated in the explanatory memorandum accompanying the proposal, various evaluations and consultations have shown that the current overarching objectives remain broadly valid (see page 9 of the proposal).

Key changes in the new proposal refer to specific objectives, which are now reshuffled in line with:

– implementation of the New European Agenda for Culture, that the new programme is set to support: enhancing of economic, social and external dimension of the CCS (see point a of Article 3, paragraph 2);

– accompanying EU Digital Single Market policies and in particular those related to challenges faced by the audiovisual sector, including the stronger position of digital platforms: promoting the competitiveness and scalability of the audiovisual industry (see point b of Article 3, paragraph 2);

– tackling the growing phenomenon of disinformation through all strands of the programme: promoting the pluralistic media, media literacy and social inclusion (see point c of Article 3, paragraph 2).

Article 3 also reiterates the three main sections covered by the programme: “CULTURE”, “MEDIA” and “CROSS SECTORAL strand”. All three areas are now nominated as “strands” and not as “programmes” as it was a case in the current programme for “Culture” and “MEDIA” sections.

General clauses on gender balance promotion and climate action mainstreaming are among novelties of the Commission proposal. 


The key priorities of the strand CULTURE, set out in Article 4, are again restructured  and kept in line with the New Agenda for Culture. Apart from reiterating the key importance of circulation and capacity-building of CCS operators and works, the proposal introduces new elements related to social, economic and external relations impact of CCS: promotion of cultural participation, societal resilience and social inclusion, fostering of CCS’ capacity to generate growth and jobs, strengthening of European identity and values via synergies between culture and education as well as special focus on EU external policy and cultural diplomacy.

For more clarity, further priorities are divided into specific three groups of actions: horizontal, sectorial and special actions, as detailed in Annex I. Horizontal actions take over the actions from the current programme which are considered as successful, as explained in the explanatory memorandum. Mobility action is a new horizontal action. Support to CCS operators at international level and policy development activities are also included within horizontal actions. Specific actions reflect particular culture sub-sector needs and cover music, book and publishing, architecture and cultural heritage as well as design (including fashion, which is a new element) and cultural tourism. Finally, the special actions are there in order to ensure the continuity of the actions included in the current programme Regulation, such as European Capitals of Culture, European Heritage Label and EU cultural prizes. Two new elements introduced explicitly within the special actions are European Heritage Days and support to cultural institutions. 

Strand MEDIA

As defined in article 5, the strand MEDIA prioritises cooperation through innovation and the use of new technologies between actions upstream (training, creation and production) and downstream (distribution, promotion and audience development), reflecting the need of flexible and harmonized intervention within the whole audiovisual value chain, in order to address market developments triggered by digital shift. Accompanying role of the programme as regards the Audiovisual Media Services Directive is explicitly mentioned in the very same article, which also reflects a more harmonized approach.

Like in the case of the strand CULTURE, further priorities of the strand MEDIA are detailed in Annex I. Key elements included in the current regulation are reshuffled, simplified and mainstreamed with new market developments. Among the new actions that the programme is now set to support are serial storytelling, on-line marketing and data analytics, coordinated distribution strategies and, last but not least, a European Video on demand operators’ network. A support to independent production companies is not mentioned explicitly, unlike in the current programme.


The priorities of the CROSS SECTORAL strand, as defined in Article 6 and further detailed in Annex I, are largely simplified and restructured in line with:

– the New European Agenda for Culture, in particular as regards:

– the support to cross-sectorial policy cooperation including on the role of culture for social inclusion (see point a of Article 6 and paragraph 3 of Annex I);

– a new political approach based on cultural crossovers: promotion of innovative approaches along a value chain (see point b of Article 6 and paragraph 3 of Annex I) and collaboration between the audiovisual and the publishing sector to promote media plurality (see point c of Article 6 and paragraph 3 of Annex I);

– the disinformation phenomenon: promotion of free pluralistic media, quality journalism and media literacy (see point c of Article 6 and paragraph 3 of Annex I)

Creative Innovation Labs are another novelty of the proposal, in line with the Agenda’s approach based on cultural crossover, with a special focus on promotion of cultural heritage.

A support to the Programmes Desks is also reiterated in the new Regulation.

Financial instruments and budgetary guarantee related to the programme policy objectives are now to be addressed under the InvestEU Fund, a new EU investment instrument that will anchor all centrally managed financial instruments inside the EU in a single, streamlined structure.[2] As a result, the Guaranty Facility does not make part of the Creative Europe programme any more and will be transferred to the InvestEU Fund[3]. It is to be seen how CCS specific needs will be earmarked in the new fund and what resources will be devoted to them. 


The budget for Creative Europe 2021-2027 has been increased to €1.85 billion as compared with the 2014-2020 programming period, when the budget was set at €1.46 billion. Both figures are expressed in “current prices”, meaning that the budget for 2014-2020 is expressed in 2013 prices, while the budget for 2021-2027 is expressed in 2018 prices. Therefore, the Commission’s comparison mixes the real increase of the financial envelope with the effect of inflation between 2014 and 2018. The actual increase might therefore be smaller than the Commission claims. In addition, the financial envelope for 2014-2020 includes the UK’s contribution, whereas the budget for 2021-2027 is without a UK contribution.

The distribution of the proposed programme’s budget across the three strands CULTURE, MEDIA and CROSS SECTORAL is set out in Article 7 of the proposal. The budget of the current programme is set out in Article 24 of Regulation 1295/2013. Table 1 compares the allocations across the main areas between the current and future programme.

Table 1: Comparison of allocations for 2014-2020 and 2021-2027 for the main sectors

The comparison of the percentages shows that the Commission proposal has kept the balance between the sectors as it was established in the current Creative Europe Regulation, with more than half of the budget dedicated to the strand MEDIA. It is also to be noticed that the new Regulation proposes absolute maximum figures per strand (“up to”) and not an indicative breakdown of the minimum or maximum amounts (in percentage) allocated by type of action (“at least” + % or “a maximum of” + %) as it is a case for the current Creative Europe programme.

Among the novelties in terms of budget are:

  1. introduction to the Programme of blending operations, meaning actions supported by the EU budget combining EU financing with other forms of financial support, including private co-financing;
  2. Seal of Excellence, stemming from Horizon 2020, a funding leverage high-quality label for projects which are deemed to deserve funding but may not be financed due to budget limits;
  3. possibility for additional contributions from the external financing instruments.

The Regulation however does not provide for precise details as regards the implementation of these new measures, for instance as regards more exact conditionalities for matching with private sources of financing for blending operations or, in case of the Seal of Excellence, the question of reciprocity with other EU programmes in which CCS are not mentioned as priority.

Two organisms referred as entities eligible for direct Union support are: the European Film Academy and the European Youth Orchestra (see points a and b, Article 14, paragraph 5).

Participation of third countries

Article 8 of the proposal delineates which third countries may seek association to the Programme and participate in it on equal terms with EU Members States, provided that they comply with all the obligations the Regulations sets out for the Member States.

These include the EFTA countries which are members of the EEA, acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidates as well as countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy. For all these groups of countries, the conditions for their participation is covered under relevant agreements (see points a, b and c of Article 8, paragraph 1).

Point d of the Article 8, paragraph 1, sets out conditions for the participation of other third countries which are not part of any of the above mentioned groups. A case in point might be the United Kingdom after Brexit. Also for these countries, a specific agreement should outline the participation of said country in Union programmes. The agreement should meet certain conditions: a fair balance as regards contributions and benefits of said third country, clear conditions regarding the participation in the programme and the calculation of financial contributions and administrative costs; no decisional power of the country on the programme in question and for the EU to ensure sound financial management and protects its financial interests.

As said above, the new Regulation allows the possibility for additional contributions from the external financing instruments.

Decision-making procedures

Under Article 12, paragraph 2 the Regulation proposes that the annual work programme would be adopted via an implementing act, without however any precision on the terms of the delegation (procedure, objectives, content, scope and duration).

In Article 17, the Regulation proposes to review or supplement the indicators in the Annex II which report on progress of the Programme towards the achievements of the general objectives via delegated acts.  The terms of the delegation are set out in Article 19.


The Commission proposal is aligned with the New European Agenda for Culture and with the EU Digital Single Market Policies. Overall, it favours continuity over change by keeping the current structure and budgetary balance between the programme three strands.

The Commission’s preference for continuity is also reflected by the decision-making procedures suggested in the proposal, namely the adoption of annual work programmes under implementing acts. Given a considerably simplified and general formulation of the provisions of the new Regulation, it is also through annual work programmes that an important part of key elements shaping the programme it set to be dealt with.

Culture has momentum in international relations, starting with the first ever G7 Ministerial meeting on Culture in Florence in March 2017 and the Leaders’ meeting in Gothenburg in November 2017 with the Gothenburg Declaration, followed by Davos Conference of European Ministries of Culture in January 2018 and the definition of Baukultur, with the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage on the top of that. It is to be seen how this momentum may fit into the deliberations on the new Creative Europe programme.

[1] COM(2018) 366 final

[2] As stated in the Commission’s Communication on A Modern Budget for a Union that Protects, Empowers and Defends The Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027: “in order to leverage private investment, equity and debt financing will be made available to cultural and creative small and medium-sized enterprises via the InvestEU Fund”, COM(2018) 321 final

[3] REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishing the InvestEU Programme, COM(2018) 439 final

1 Comment

Creative Europe – Media: Implementation, First Experiences – Research4Committees · July 16, 2018 at 2:28 pm

[…] reading: Commission’s proposal for Creative Europe 2021-2027 – internal note, original publication July 2018 Creative Europe: Towards the Next Programme Generation, original […]

Leave a Reply