ON THE BLOG: What's the future of Creative Europe MEDIA?

Martin Dawson, Deputy Head of MEDIA, gave a keynote address in an online session at the Galway Film Fleadh this week to discuss Covid-19 and the future of the Creative Europe MEDIA programme.

Dawson stressed how Covid-19 has represented an unprecedented challenge within Europe’s creative and cultural industries. The European Commission responded by reaching out to the sector and putting together a plan of actions including improving flexibility in the current programme, an additional €5 million for Europa Cinemas and the establishment of a European Guarantee Fund. He also spoke, NEXT Generation EU, which will see €750 million added to the EU budget in the form of loans and grants to be implemented by Member States. The funds will be available from next year.

The topic of the talk then shifted to the future Creative Europe programme (due to run from 2021-2027). The UK government indicated in February that it would not be looking to negotiate participation in this new programme as part of its future relationship with the EU after Brexit.

Dawson explained that negotiations on the new programme have stalled there are still some key decisions to be made by Member States:

  • THE BUDGET: a 15% increase on the current budget (from €1.46 billion to €1.7 billion) has been proposed but the European Parliament is looking to double the budget to €2.8 billion. Italian, French and German ministers of culture have backed this increase by writing a letter to the European Commission. 
  • THE LEGAL BASE: this is a document defining the scope of the programme, which is not yet finalised.

It is expected that talks will resume under the German presidency after the summer break.

As the Legal Base is being discussed, the work programme for Creative Europe 2021 cannot be adopted which is likely to result in a delay in the launching the calls and the timing of deadlines. 

Dawson did explain that the new programme would be an evolution rather than revolution of what already exists, with greater emphasis on cross-border and cross-sector collaboration. He also stressed that there was an ambition to include a diversity of players of different capacities and from all corners of Europe, as well as to reach out to wider and younger audiences, and contribute to sustainability and gender equality.

In terms of its shape, the new Creative Europe MEDIA programme will be organised around three main areas:

  • CONTENT - with a focus on co-development to strengthen co-production potential, support for film, TV series, games and immersive content
  • BUSINESS - increasing the capacity of European audiovisual SMEs, facilitating spaces and tools for B2B exchanges
  • AUDIENCES - through networks of cinemas, festivals, VOD services; support for distribution; subtitling; and for audience development and film education

Policy development through the European Audiovisual Observatory and the Audiovisual Media Services Directive will also continue.

The cross-sector strand of Creative Europe will continue to bring the audiovisual and cultural sectors closer together to collaborate on common challenges. This will be done through the Creative Innovation Lab. A new area of support for Creative Europe will be news media which will tackle issues around media freedom, pluralism and literacy.

Following the keynote, a panel of MEDIA beneficiaries from the west of Ireland shared their views of what they felt the new programme needed to deliver on.

A recording of the session can be found on the Galway Film Fleadh YouTube channel. The session was organised by Creative Europe Desk Ireland.