When the night of the pandemic took over our private lives, we just sang from the balconies. Culture is decisive for the quality of life. And it’s culture that can bring people back together again after the trauma of the pandemic.
David Sassoli, late President of the European Parliament
We work hand in hand with civil society partners and policymakers to create a central position for culture in public opinion and in policies – from the local to the European level. Our advocacy makes a vital contribution to our work, leveraging the impact of our initiatives and influencing policies and resource allocations. Our Public Policy work plays a key role in helping to achieve our mission and programmatic goals, and in positioning our organisation as a unique European foundation.
Cultural Deal for Europe
“There are many transitions in society and culture is key in all of them. You cannot address any of these big transitions in our society without culture. That is why we launched the Cultural Deal.” André Wilkens, Director, European Cultural Foundation
At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, we campaigned alongside our partners Culture Action Europe and Europa Nostra for 2% from the EU’s recovery plan for Europe to be dedicated to culture.
The Cultural Deal for Europe is an ambitious plan to place culture at the heart of the EU, calling the European institutions, Member States and wider Europe to embed culture across their policies and actions. In analogy to the Green Deal, it is an overarching strategy to safeguard our European values, way of life and a sustainable future for Europe in the world.
These efforts helped to mobilise a historic €12 billion for culture, which has laid the groundwork for culture to be placed within the very heart of the European Project.
In 2022, we continued to advocate for this long-term vision of a Cultural Deal for Europe and its implementation. We kicked off the year with the third edition of our Annual Policy Conversation on 1 February, which brought together the European cultural ecosystem and EU policymakers to discuss how culture can contribute to Europe’s recovery and its green, digital and sustainable future.
In a recorded video message to the 700 online participants, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen recalled “the hardship the pandemic has caused for artists […] for everyone working in the cultural and creative sector” and highlighted that “Europe stands ready to help”.
With recovery on the horizon, she emphasised that the European Green Deal was more than an environmental or economic project, but also a cultural project for Europe, promoting the role of the cultural and creative sectors to take action in the fight against climate change.
The goal of our Annual Policy Conversation was to inspire and engage the wider European community of artists, cultural workers, creative industries and heritage stakeholders to build a future that is more resilient and sustainable for Europe and its citizens. Read more.
We are now looking towards the European Parliament elections in 2024, imagining how we want Europe and its cultural and cultural heritage sectors to develop.
European Cultural Deal for Ukraine
“The Cultural Deal for Europe must include a European Cultural Deal for Ukraine.”
#CulturalDealEU statement on Ukraine
We believe Ukraine deserves a ‘European Cultural Deal for Ukraine’ to help its immediate cultural needs and future cultural recovery from the war. We called on the EU to include Ukraine’s cultural, cultural heritage and creative sectors in EU relief packages for Ukraine. We also called on the EU institutions and Member States to join forces to include emergency and recovery needs from the world of art, culture and cultural heritage within the EU humanitarian support to Ukraine. This includes the call for culture to be integrated into the Trust Fund for Ukraine – mobilising international donors, as endorsed by the Heads of State and Government in the European Council Conclusions of 24-25 March 2022.
Highlights in 2022
The initiators of the Cultural Deal for Europe addressed EU institutions, the French presidency of the EU and the EU Ministers of Culture in an open letter with an urgent plea to demonstrate a Culture of Solidarity with cultural actors in Ukraine. We called for coordinated actions and cooperation with philanthropic and civil society actors to leverage funding and impact.
At the official opening of the exhibition In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine 1900-1930s at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid (28 November), we organised a high-level policy panel ‘Culture in Times of War: European solidarity with Ukraine’ together with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary. The event discussed the vital role of culture in shaping a sense of togetherness, a European sentiment, in times of crisis, recovery and beyond. It assessed opportunities for showing cultural solidarity and officially launched the call for a European Cultural Deal for Ukraine.
The European Cultural Foundation’s President HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands delivered a message of solidarity with Ukraine at the opening ceremony of the exhibition, placed under the high patronage of the Office of the President of Ukraine and the Spanish Ministry of Culture.
As the war continues to ravage Ukraine, we will continue to advocate for further and continued action to support Ukraine’s cultural, cultural heritage and creative industries in the short, medium and long term.
European Sentiment Compass
“Europe’s two latest crises have the potential to forge a strong European sentiment. The past two years have shown that citizens retain a steady trust in the EU, which may lead them to conclude it can deliver even more for them.” The European Sentiment Compass 2022
In partnership with the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), we launched the first edition of the European Sentiment Compass in 2022. This joint initiative is a survey of the state of attitudes and feelings about Europe in the 27 EU countries. It was launched on 9 May 2022, as part of our Europe Day programming, followed by a panel discussion in Paris on 12 May. The Paris event, organised in partnership with the journal Le Grand Continent, discussed the key political dilemmas the EU is facing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
This first edition of the European Sentiment Compass sheds light on how attitudes and feelings about Europe change by looking through the prism of today’s key challenges:
- How has the war in Ukraine and international security issues impacted Europeans’ feelings about Europe?
- Could culture and media hold the compass of a better and stronger European space in the future?
Read the European Sentiment Compass 2022 here
Creating Actionable Futures (CrAFt)
“I cannot wait to see these New European Bauhaus projects come to life. They will show how the future can look and bring the European Green Deal to our daily lives and living spaces.” Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
May 2022 also saw the launch of CrAFt (Creating Actionable Futures) – a three-year EU Horizon Europe-funded project. This is a support action of the New Bauhaus initiative bringing together cities and their citizens, policymakers, arts and academia to jointly shape the transition to climate neutrality.
CrAFt is a collaboration between the European Cutural Foundation and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology – NTNU, University of Bologna, European League of Institutes of the , Czech Technical University in Prague, Amsterdam University of applied sciences, International Union of Property Owners and Locality Europe.
One of the first steps in the project was an open call to European cities to become a CrAFt city: Cities that want to test and share models of transformation with the project partners, receive implementation support and become role models for cities across Europe.
EIT Culture & Creativity (European Institute of Innovation and Technology)
On 23 June 2022, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) announced the winning consortium to lead Europe’s new and biggest innovation and knowledge community for the cultural and creative sectors and industries. The European Cultural Foundation is part of the winning bid – a pan-European consortium that brings together 50 partners from 20 countries across Europe, big and small, to boost culture and creative industries and strengthen their role in and for Europe.
The multi-million partnership brings together top-level universities, research institutions, businesses, foundations and associations, which will work together as an open innovation community. The EIT will provide the winning partnership with a start-up grant of up to €6 million to ensure they become fully operational as soon as possible.
The EIT Culture & Creativity will train the sector’s future entrepreneurs, power its cutting-edge ventures, and deliver innovative solutions to the challenges facing the cultural and creative sectors.
The European Cultural Foundation will bring our knowledge, capacity and networks to the innovation community and, through partnership with stellar organisations, will help to amplify its scale and impact.