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Creative sector seeks support amid fears over impact of lockdown

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By Isabel Silva
Creative sector seeks support amid fears over impact of lockdown
Copyright  Euronews

As a trapeze artist, Julia Campistany is used to taking risks in her work. But the lack of an economic safety net during the pandemic has her worried about her future in the arts.

Having applied for a three-month minimum income scheme, she tries to stay in shape from her home in the Netherlands.

"If I want to train trapeze I need a specific space, specific conditions and installations and safety measures," Julia explains. "Now that we are confined we can use the time to create, to write down ideas and to dream, let's say, but it is so often that you met with people, you train with people, you get inspired by others and that is actually where and how the work is done."

The creative sector employs approximately nine million people in Europe. Small and medium-sized businesses and freelancers account for 95 per cent of this workforce.

While the internet gives access to films, music and other art forms during the lockdown, creators are losing out.

Many websites are free and advertising is plummeting.

"In as much as broadcasting is concerned; their business model is going to be hit pretty significantly with the loses of advertising revenues and the difficulties in accessing fresh content in the coming months," says Pauline Durand-Vialle, chief executive of the Federation of European Film Directors. "Now all of this affects royalties payment to creators; of course, but it also affects our ability in the mid-term to go back to work."

The European Commission has announced emergency measures such as: €2m for cross-border performing arts; €5m for hard-hit cinemas; access to temporary unemployment scheme SURE; and more flexibility in grants from Creative Europe

In the EU budget from 2014 to 2020, the Creative Europe programme received €1.46 billion.

The European Parliament says that should be doubled for the next seven years, coupled with other lines of financing.

"It must also be in a way that opens up other support programmes," said German MEP Sabine Verheyen, who heads up the European Parliament's committee on culture and education

She explains that this financing could come from the SURE programme for workers, regional development funds and emergency funding.

"What we asked for too is that we help the artistic and creative sector, especially in the digital environment, to establish systems of distribution of works where they can have also an income, where they are paid for."

Before the pandemic, the cultural industry contributed 3.8 per cent of the EU's GDP.

Alongside the tourism, experts say that the arts will take the longest time to recover when lockdown rules are lifted.