European Union Flag

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. Until the UK leaves the EU, it can fully participate in Creative Europe. In August 2019 however the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson made it 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 will update 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 payments to UK beneficiaries would be expected to cease after the leave date. 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. 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


The guarantee will apply only to project applications that are selected. It is not 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. 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 – see our advice for Cooperation Projects, for example.

Since 2017, the European Commission included a clause for British applicants in Creative Europe guidelines and calls for proposals: 

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 30 January 2019, the European Commission announced in a press release that it has published a final set of no deal contingency proposals regarding the EU budget, which “enable the EU to be in a position, in a “no-deal” scenario, to honour its commitments and to continue making payments in 2019 to UK beneficiaries for contracts signed and decisions made before 31 March 2019, on condition that the UK honours its obligations under the 2019 budget and that it accepts the necessary audit checks and controls.” 

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

In November 2018, the UK and EU negotiating teams reached consensus on a Withdrawal Agreement, which includes a transition period that will start on the EU leave date and last until 31 December 2020.

On 24 July 2019 Boris Johnson took over from Teresa May as UK’s new Prime Minister. Under his leadership, the UK Government has made clear that its priority is to leave the EU on 31 October 2019. The Government would prefer to leave the EU with a deal, however, if it cannot reach a deal the UK would leave with no deal, a scenario outlined above.

In the case of a deal, 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, this means 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).

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 [available to download here], 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 September 2019