Europa Nostra supports plea to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Europe’s cultural and creative sectors

Europa Nostra strongly supports the joint letter co-signed by 37 European networks working in the field of culture and cultural heritage which was communicated on 20 March to European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel.

Fully aware of the massive impacts of the pandemic on Europe’s cultural heritage, and a Creative Europe beneficiary itself, Europa Nostra features among the 37 signatories of this letter, also on behalf of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3 in its role of coordinator.

In the letter initiated by our colleagues from Culture Action Europe, the signatories recognise the worrying negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemics on Europe’s cultural, heritage and creative sectors as well as its specific implications for the beneficiaries of the Creative Europe programme of the EU. Therefore, they are calling the EU to adopt both immediate and long-term mitigating measures. The letter was sent to the European Commission on 20 March 2020.

In this joint letter, Europe’s major culture and heritage networks stress the need to explore effective measures to reduce the negative impact of the pandemic on organisations benefiting from Creative Europe funding and propose concrete ways to do it. Among the proposed recommendations, signatories call for flexibility measures such as: considering the eligibility of incurred costs for cancelled activities, authorizing the replacement of planned activities that are not suited to the current situation (such as public events), as well as providing additional funding for beneficiaries facing significant economic losses.

Signatories also call on the European Union for wider support to the Cultural and Creative Sectors, including cultural heritage, in light of the current COVID-19 situation. Artists and cultural operators are being heavily affected by the emergency measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19, as cultural ecosystems rely on audiences, visitors and participation. If appropriate support measures are not taken, signatories note, this situation will have a devastating economic and social impact on the sector. Therefore, signatories plead to the European institutions and national governments to adopt emergency measures that specifically support cultural ecosystems, and call on the European Commission to earmark part of the € 25 billion emergency package for Europe’s economy specifically for the cultural and creative sectors.

Part of the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture planned activities go online after corona virus cancellation.

Europa Nostra is extremely concerned about the harmful impact of the COVID-19 on Europe’s heritage sector, both at the present time and in the long-run. Indeed, European theatres, museums, archives, libraries, cultural heritage sites, parks and other heritage places that are heavily reliant on audiences and visitors are already facing a dramatic loss of income. Europa Nostra is therefore reaching out to its members inviting them to share their concerns and experience. It is also exploring further solidarity actions to support heritage professionals, volunteers and grass-roots organisations that are struggling with the effects of the pandemics and of the measures in place to contain it. Such actions would focus on virtual networking, capacity-building and information-sharing.

Read the full letter here.

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