|glossary - Structural Funds|
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While Community programmes for culture are unable to meet the financial needs of the culture sector to develop and carry out transnational projects, culture has benefited considerably from other EU initiatives, in particular the Structural Funds. This amounts to over 80% of the Community’s expenditure for culture.
For the period 2007-2013, regional policies received a budget of 348 milliards euros including 278 for the structural funds and 70 for the cohesion fund. Regional policies are the second most important budget line of the EU after the agricultural policy.
Regional policies pursue three objectives:
Compared to the period 2000-2006, the EU cohesion policy has been simplified a lot. Community programmes such as Leader +, Urban, Equal and Interreg have been absorbed by the Funds which now pursue the programmes’ objectives : Urban’s and Leader’s objectives were integrated in the ERDF, Equal’s by the ESF and the objective of territorial cooperation integrates the Interreg’s activities.
Funding for culture from the Structural Funds is mainly based on the recognition of the transversal quality of culture, that is that culture interrelates with a variety of other fields and almost every aspect of contemporary life and society, e.g. the cultural industries, media and new technologies, tourism and leisure, urban planning, regional development, education and training. It takes into account that the cultural sector generates employment and that it contributes to social cohesion, innovation, sustainable development and other common objectives in the EU. The otherwise rather limited legal framework for culture at EU level provides the basis for making available funding sources other than from specific cultural programmes in Clause 4 of Article 151, which stipulates that “the Community shall take cultural aspects into account in its action under other provisions of the Treaty”.
Since 1989 – hence already before the Treaty took effect in 1993 - a wide range of cultural projects were supported, mainly through ERDF and ESF, in the fields of museums, heritage, festivals, media, IT, education and training. Only in 1996, the European Commission started to consider the cultural dimension of its regional policies. As in other policy fields, the funding from the Structural Funds will play a crucial role with respect to culture in the new Member States of the EU after the enlargement.
Through the Structural Funds the cultural field has gained access to financial means that would never have been available within the framework of cultural programming. However, it should not be overlooked that these programmes are primarily an investment in the competitiveness of European industry, employment or development, but not in the cultural sector as such.
For more information on funding for culture through the EU regional policy: