|Exploring the cultural and creative industries debate - The Lisbon Strategy of the EU|
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The Lisbon Strategy of the EU
For the EU and in the context of its ‘Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs’ in particular, the economy of culture/cultural industries debate has also raised considerably in the last years. This interest materialised in the KEA European Affairs’ study on the Economy of Culture in Europe commissioned by the European Commission and published by the end of 2006. This broad ranging piece of research looks at ‘quantifiable’ and ‘non-quantifiable’ impact of the cultural sector on the objectives of the Lisbon agenda and makes a series of recommendations towards a ‘strategy for a creative Europe’.
The study works with what it calls the “cultural and creative” sector, trying to reconcile the two. The “cultural sector” covers for the study visual arts, performing arts and heritage, but also “cultural industries” (film and video, video-games broadcasting, music, book and press publishing). The “creative sector”, is defined as using cultural input for the production of non-cultural goods and covers design, architecture, and advertising). Related industries, which are dependent on the two above-mentioned, are also considered. The study’s aim is to show the impact of the cultural and creative sector on the fulfillment of the objectives of the ‘Lisbon agenda’ and to make recommendations for improvement of the same agenda.
The quantifiable socio-economic impact of the sector is translated into figures of the following type: the sector had a total turn-over of 654 billion € in 2003; its value added to the European Union’s GDP was thus of 2,6%; a sectoral growth of 12,3% is higher than the growth of the EU economy; the sector gives work to 3,1% (or 5,8 million) of the total number of employed persons in the EU. The increase of the sector between 2002-2004 was 1,85%, and thus higher than the increase of the EU economy as a whole.
Non-quantifiable contribution to the Lisbon objectives would include the impact on ICT, with a broadband boom parallel to and depending on the growth of creative content; culture as a “soft location factor” in boosting local & regional attractiveness for business settlements; and culture being a major driving force for tourism. The study also regards the role of culture as a tool for social integration and cohesion through social and socio-economic empowerment (through socio-cultural centres etc) or through top-down projects (e.g. rehabilitation of post-industrial areas) as a considerable contribution made to the social objectives of the ‘Lisbon agenda’.
The study also makes a number of recommendations to achieve the Lisbon objectives. The Lisbon agenda should include increasing and improved investment in creativity, as well as “improving creation, production, distribution, promotion of, and access to, cultural activities and content”. The study recommends concrete actions to be undertaken by the EU: Making better use of existing programmes (FP7, structural funds, support to SMEs); focusing the EU budget equally on creation and on innovation; reinforcing the Internal Market for creative people, products and services (e.g. artists’ mobility); promoting creativity and business education, linking creators and technology (clustering of competences in so-called ‘creativity platforms’); establishing a creative industries bank based on investment in intangible assets; and integrating the cultural dimension in cooperation and trade agreements.
The study also proposes steps towards structural reforms in the Commission. It calls for reinforced coordination of activities and policies impacting on the cultural and creative sector within the European Commission; for better interaction between European institutions and the cultural and creative sector to ensure proper representation and consultation; and for a comprehensive and coherent implementation of article 151.4.
Following the publication of this study, the European Commission published in May 2007 its Communication on a European agenda for culture in a globalising world with one of its three stated objectives being ‘Culture as a catalyst for creativity in the framework of the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs’. Almost simultaneously, the Council of Ministers adopted conclusions on the ‘Contribution of the cultural and creative sectors to the achievement of the Lisbon objectives’ and in November 2007 the European Council adopted the ‘European Agenda for Culture’, endorsing the EC’s proposed priority on the economy of culture.
Since then, the European activity around the topic intensified. The European Parliament’s plenary adopted on the 10th of April 2008 a report on the ‘Cultural Industries in Europe’, a Member States experts working group met for the first time on the 31st of March 2008 to discuss the issue in the framework of the Open Method of Coordination and a ‘civil society platform on cultural and creative industries’ was set up to insure the sector’s input in the debate.