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EAEA-​Pearle* press release re. EU recovery plans

EAEA-Pearle* logos

Brussels, 14 October 2020

European Social Partners of the Live Performance Sector call for a coor­di­nat­ed action plan to secure the recov­ery and sus­tain­abil­i­ty of the European cul­tur­al sec­tor

PEARLE*- Live Performance Europe rep­re­sent­ing over 10 000 organ­i­sa­tions and the EAEA – European Arts and Entertainment Alliance, rep­re­sent­ing more than 150 unions, guilds, and asso­ci­a­tions and over 600 000 per­form­ers, tech­ni­cians and staff in the music, per­form­ing arts and live sec­tor – are call­ing on the EU insti­tu­tions and nation­al gov­ern­ments to adopt a coor­di­nat­ed approach includ­ing short-​term sup­port mea­sures and long-​term invest­ment to save the European cul­tur­al sec­tor amid a resur­gence of the Covid-​19 pan­dem­ic across Europe.

The urgent call for action echoes the con­cerns and demands of rep­re­sen­ta­tives of nation­al employ­ers’ and work­ers’ organ­i­sa­tions voiced dur­ing the October 13th webi­nar Covid-​19: Outlook for the Live Performance Sector and Measures Needed, joint­ly orga­nized by PEARLE* and the EAEA and which they had already stat­ed at the begin­ning of the pan­dem­ic on March 12th.

The eco­nom­ic impact of the cri­sis has hit the sec­tor very hard as venues were entire­ly shut down and count­less tours and events were can­celled. The sec­tor has a high per­cent­age of SMEs, free­lance and self-​employed work­ers who are very vul­ner­a­ble and often face lim­it­ed access to, or over­all exclu­sion from, cross-​sector finan­cial and eco­nom­ic relieve pro­grammes or social sup­port schemes that mit­i­gate the impact of the cri­sis.

While the live per­for­mance sec­tor has grad­u­al­ly been resum­ing activ­i­ties since restric­tions were lift­ed or adapt­ed, it needs to oper­ate under strict safe­ty pro­to­cols pro­tect­ing the work­force and the audi­ence that inevitably also imply high­er costs, less rev­enue and few­er employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties. With the resur­gence of the pan­dem­ic in recent weeks, the imme­di­ate future and the out­look for the next twelve months are uncer­tain, putting the eco­nom­ic sus­tain­abil­i­ty of organ­i­sa­tions and the careers of hun­dreds of thou­sands of pro­fes­sion­als at risk. It is also unsure what this will mean in the mid-​term and longer-​term per­spec­tive, as many on the ground esti­mate it will take at least three years to come back to the lev­el before the cri­sis.

The European Social Partners under­line the urgency and seri­ous­ness of this sit­u­a­tion and the grave per­il the live per­for­mance is fac­ing

Speaking at their joint webi­nar, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the European social part­ners empha­sised the urgency of the sit­u­a­tion: “The live per­for­mance sec­tor is under­go­ing the worst cri­sis ever and our cul­tur­al diver­si­ty is at stake. Without ade­quate sup­port, many cul­tur­al organ­i­sa­tions will need to per­ma­nent­ly close their doors; qual­i­fied work­ers will leave their pro­fes­sion. Now is the time for gov­ern­ments to include our sec­tor as a pri­or­i­ty in their recov­ery plans and ensure resilience for live per­for­mance organ­i­sa­tions and work­ers” said Tania Swayne of Spanish live per­for­mance employ­ers asso­ci­a­tion FAETEDA and vice-​President of Pearle*. Denys Fouqueray, of the Syndicat Français des Artistes-​Interprètes, vice-​president of FIA, rep­re­sent­ing the European Arts and Entertainment Alliance (EAEA) echoed this fear, observ­ing that: “Live per­for­mance is ail­ing. Unless pol­i­cy­mak­ers agree to include it in cur­rent and future recov­ery plans, hun­dreds of thou­sands of jobs and the sus­tain­abil­i­ty of our sec­tor are at risk. This would be an irrepara­ble loss for Europe, for cul­tur­al diver­si­ty and ulti­mate­ly also for artis­tic free­dom”.

The EU recov­ery pack­age and exist­ing poli­cies and mea­sures should more explic­it­ly instruct mem­ber states to pro­vide tar­get­ed sup­port in order to meet the chal­lenges that the sec­tor is fac­ing. At EU lev­el, there is still a lack of a sector-​specific plan and instru­ments. The access for the cul­tur­al sec­tor to exist­ing and future cross-​sector instru­ments is nei­ther guar­an­teed nor facil­i­tat­ed, such as for instance to the REACT EU help scheme under the cohe­sion funds, the Digital Europe pro­gramme or the Creative Europe Programme. The pro­posed cuts in the InvestEU 2021 – 2027 pro­gramme could fur­ther lim­it access to vital fund­ing for organ­i­sa­tions of the live per­for­mance sec­tor. The lack of coor­di­na­tion among the Member States with regards to trav­el and safe­ty mea­sures and exemp­tions for artists, cul­tur­al pro­fes­sion­als and organ­i­sa­tions who need to be able to tour to make a liv­ing fur­ther slows down a sec­tor that high­ly depends on the cross-​border mobil­i­ty. Moreover, it puts the European Treaty objec­tive to ensure cul­tur­al diver­si­ty under ques­tion.

This needs to change.

The European Social Partners under­line the urgency and seri­ous­ness of this sit­u­a­tion and the grave per­il the live per­for­mance and, in fact, the entire cul­tur­al sec­tor are fac­ing. It is vital, that gen­er­al and cross-​sector pro­grammes are also made to include the live per­for­mance sec­tor, with sector-​specific mea­sures address­ing the actu­al needs of SMEs, free­lance and self-​employed work­ers. This strat­e­gy can­not be based on ad-​hoc mea­sures that may or not may be extend­ed, but must be built instead on a long-​term invest­ment com­mit­ment to secure the sus­tain­abil­i­ty of the European cul­tur­al sec­tor.

Closing the webi­nar ses­sion on October 13th, Petra Kammerevert, S&D MEP and mem­ber of the CULT com­mit­tee empha­sised the parliament’s sup­port for the sec­tor and urged pol­i­cy­mak­ers to act now, say­ing “let’s make a new start for cul­ture”. In September, the European Parliament called for 2% of the Recovery and Resilience Facility to be ear­marked for the cul­tur­al and cre­ative sec­tor. The German EU Presidency under­lined that man­ag­ing the con­se­quences of Covid-​19 was a pri­or­i­ty for the com­ing months. We applaud these com­mit­ments and urge decision-​makers to fol­low through.

The time to act is now.

Download the press release in PDF


Contacts

Pearle*: Live Performance Europe
Director: Anita Debaere
[email protected]​pearle.​eu

European Arts & Entertainment Alliance (EAEA)
Deputy General Secretary FIA: Dearbhal Murphy
[email protected]​fia-​actors.​com

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