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Creative Europe Brexit update

At the European Union Summit on 10 April 2019, the UK was granted an extension to Article 50 until 31 October 2019 at the latest. The UK can fully participate in Creative Europe until it leaves the EU. In August 2019 however the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made clear that the Government will seek to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement previously drawn up with the European Commission, with the possibility of leaving without a deal on 31 October. 

Our advice for UK lead and partner organisations and other European partners is to continue applications for the forthcoming Creative Europe calls, but to take full note of the information about the two different scenarios below. Creative Europe Desk UK can provide guidance on applications for the calls that are currently open as part of our usual advice, so get in touch. Creative Europe Desk UK is updating this guidance as soon as further information becomes available.

Creative Europe and the UK in the event of a 'no deal' between the EU and the UK

In the case of a ‘no deal’ outcome, payments to UK beneficiaries would be expected to cease after the leave date, based on the UK-specific clause which has been inserted into all Creative Europe guidelines since 2017 (and also eligibility criteria in the guidelines [PDF] for the Cooperation Projects 2020):

“For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project […] Should the project leader fail to comply with the eligibility criteria defined herein under 6.1, the whole application will be deemed as ineligible.”

On 4 September 2019 the EU Commission issued a communication stating that in the event of the UK leaving the EU with ‘no deal’ on 31 October, the Commission has now offered to continue payments until the end of 2020 to [Creative Europe] projects selected by the leave date. This is if the UK accepts and fulfils the conditions already set out in the 2019 contingency Regulation, pays its budget contributions for 2020 and allows the required audits and controls to take place. However this outcome is subject to the offer being accepted by the UK government, and will be decided in the course of the EU leave negotiations. 

If this arrangement doesn’t come to pass, the UK Government has provided reassurance that it will underwrite the payments of awards for the full duration of the project, where UK organisations successfully bid directly to the European Commission on a competitive basis while we remain in the EU. This includes projects that are only informed of their success or sign a grant agreement after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, provided that the Commission continues to select UK projects after the exit. This guarantee covers both UK lead and UK partner organisations for Cooperation Projects beneficiaries that meet these criteria. The guarantee does not cover funding for organisations from other countries who are in consortia with UK participants – only the funding for UK participants is in scope. 

DCMS is responsible for the delivery of the guarantee for Creative Europe. Successful applicants with projects that run over the leave date can expect to hear from Creative Europe Desk UK and DCMS about next steps. 

The most up to date information about the delivery of the guarantee can be found on this UK Government web page


  • DCMS advises that the guarantee will apply only to project applications that are selected, though it is not yet clear whether UK-led applications can be selected after the EU leave date (currently 31 October 2019). The UK government will work with the European Commission to agree on the eligibility of UK partners after the EU Exit.
  • As stated above the EU Commission has put forward an offer to continue payments until the end of 2020, if the UK accepts and fulfils the conditions already set out in the 2019 contingency Regulation, for UK projects selected before the leave date.
  • However, organisations considering submitting Creative Europe applications for open calls should note that there is no certainty yet about how the European Commission will handle UK applications and UK participation in projects after the EU Exit in a no deal scenario. 
  • For some project applications, there is the scope for UK organisations to continue to participate in projects in a more limited capacity

Creative Europe and the UK in the event of a deal between the EU and the UK

In a deal scenario, the UK will leave the EU on terms agreed by both parties. This agreement will set out the nature of UK/EU collaboration immediately after Brexit, as well as setting the terms for negotiations about their longer term relationship. Creative Europe and other EU funding programmes are expected to be a part of any such agreement. 

The Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the previous UK Government and the EU  proposed terms on which the UK and EU may work together immediately after Brexit, though this was rejected by the UK Parliament. It proposed that a transition period on the UK’s exit date would last until 31 December 2020. The Agreement proposed that UK organisations would be able to apply for EU programme funding until December 2020. This includes UK participation in, and funding applications for, Creative Europe.

The UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has advised that, in a deal scenario with a transitional period on terms similar to that previously agreed, this would mean that: 

  • UK organisations can continue to apply for the forthcoming Creative Europe MEDIA and Culture sub-programme calls. 
  • UK organisations will have exactly the same rights and obligations as other countries participating in the Creative Europe programme until the end of the current programme.  
  • Successful Creative Europe applicants from the UK can receive funding until the end of their projects (even if they run beyond 2020).

While this Agreement has been rejected, it offers a potential model by which the UK may access the Creative Europe programme immediately after Brexit as part of any deal. However, while the Prime Minister has stated that the Government continues to work to reach an exit deal with the EU, and the terms of the Benn Bill make a no deal exit from the EU on October 31 2019 highly unlikely, a no deal exit is still possible in the future. More guidance on this no deal scenario is provided above.

UK participation in the future Creative Europe programme

The successor of Creative Europe will run from 2021-2027 and will continue to allow participation of non-EU countries.  The decision on whether the UK can participate in the next programme will be taken as part of the future partnership negotiations with the EU. The UK Government’s Brexit White Paper, published July 2018, stated: “The UK is open to exploring…continued involvement in Creative Europe to support the cultural, creative and audiovisual sectors.” 

Creative Europe Desk UK can provide guidance on all of this as part of our usual advice on applications, so get in touch. You can also sign up to our newsletter for updates. 

Key facts about Creative Europe

  • Since its launch in 2014, Creative Europe has awarded €89.5 million to 376 UK-based cultural and creative organisations and audiovisual companies, and helped distribute 190 UK films in other European countries
  • Creative Europe’s benefits far exceed the monetary grant funding. Our report on the impacts of Creative Europe in the UK shows the programme’s powerful effect on building international networks, growing audiences, generating jobs and skills, and much more.
  • The benefits of Creative Europe are also highlighted in the UK Parliament's inquiry report on Brexit and the creative industries
  • Participation in Creative Europe is not restricted to EU member states. There are currently 13 non-EU countries that have either partial or full participation. These include EEA countries such as Iceland and Norway as well as neighbouring countries such as Serbia and Albania. You can see the full list on the EACEA website. These countries must still comply with certain EU regulations and policies and pay a financial contribution in order to participate.

This notice is meant for guidance only. You should consider whether you need separate professional advice before making specific preparations.

Last updated: 3 October 2019