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Europe's cultural treasures online: Opportunities ahead

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DT200197@DigicultEU @EUFilmHeritage The European Commission today (2 October) has published two reports to coincide with an international conference that is part of the Italian Presidency of the EU, urging cultural institutions in Europe put more cultural heritage online with government support.

One report looks at how to digitise, make accessible and preserve culture online, the second report explains how our film heritage can be rescued from rotting cans. Digitised cultural material is a great common and free resource for developing cultural and educational content, documentaries, tourism applications, games, animations and design tools. This can help creative industries to grow beyond their current share of 4% of EU's GDP.

Europeana, the EU's digital museum, library and archive already includes 33 million objects from hundreds of Europe’s best museums and libraries, making it the largest and most significant digital cultural collection in the world. Most recently, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid agreed to make their masterpieces accessible through Europeana.

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European Commission Vice-President @NeelieKroesEU said: "Culture feeds the soul, but it is also a business opportunity. Just look at the Rijksmuseum example: its RijksStudio application lets you play around with 150,000 masterpieces with no restrictions. Beautiful things happen when you combine culture and digital technology.

Or take Europeana – the best cultural collection that no-one has heard of. It could be 10 times bigger, have better partners, and be marketed globally as a symbol of what makes Europe great. This is the digital cultural challenge and opportunity."

An international conference in Rome today (2 October) will focus on the reuse of the digitised material.

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The first report shows that digitization remains a challenge, with only a fraction of Europe's collections digitized so far (around 12% on average for libraries and less than 3% for films).

The second report identifies barriers to film digitisation and online access, such as lack of funding (for every €97 invested by the public sector in the creation of new films, only €3 go to the preservation and digitisation of these films) and the high cost and complexity of copyright clearance.

Good examples in the digital culture field include:

Background

The Commission will continue to monitor progress in this area through periodic reports and by chairing the member states Expert Group on digitisation and digital preservation and the EU Expert Group on Film Heritage. It will also monitor correct transposition of the Orphan Works Directive (transposition deadline 29/10/2014) to bring online books, press articles, films that are still protected by copyright but whose authors or other rightholders are not known or cannot be located or contacted.

The Commission encourages a more widespread and systematic use of the European Structural and Investment Funds to co-finance digitisation activities as part of projects having an impact on the regional economy.

The newly published document on Film heritage is the fourth report on implementation of the 2005 Recommendation on film heritage and the competitiveness of related industrial activities. It is based on replies of the member states to a Commission questionnaire circulated in September 2013. The analysis shows how European film heritage risks missing the digital train.

In November 2013, the Commission also adopted revised criteria for assessing member states' support schemes in favour of films and other audio visual works (Cinema Communication on State Aid). Since then, the Commission is asking member states to provide information on the deposit of financed films and on mechanisms that facilitate their use for public interest by film heritage institutions every time that a new State aid scheme is notified.

More information

Digital Culture on the Digital Agenda
Digitization and digital preservation in the Digital Agenda
Protection of film heritage in the Digital Agenda
Europeana
Neelie Kroes - Follow Neelie on Twitter

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Commission launches Creative Europe calls to support the culture and creative sectors

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The Commission has launched the remaining calls for the culture and creative sectors within the culture strand of Creative Europe programme, making available a total amount of €88 million. This budget will cover European co-operation projects in the field of culture, the circulation and increased diversity of European literary works, and will provide training and performance opportunities for young musicians.

Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said: “Culture and creation are vibrant sectors that have been hit hard by the pandemic. Now that restrictions are being lifted, it is time to focus on the sustainable recovery of cultural activities and venues. Creative Europe's budget for the next seven years has substantially increased, and for this year, €88 million will already be made available to support artists, authors and performers reconnect with audiences across Europe. I invite all parties to check the conditions of the calls and use this opportunity.”

The calls focus, among others, on European artistic cooperation and innovation on topics such as audience engagement, social cohesion digitization, and contribution to the European Green Deal. The call dedicated to European platforms will specifically contribute to increasing the visibility, programming and promotion of emerging artists. Interested organisations can now submit applications, with deadlines ranging from end of August to the end of September depending on the calls. More information and guidance for the various calls are available on this webpage.

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Creative Europe: Over €2 billion to support the recovery, resilience and diversity of cultural and creative sectors

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The Commission has launched new actions to support the cultural and creative sectors in Europe and beyond, following the adoption of the first annual work programme of the Creative Europe 2021-2027. In 2021, Creative Europe will allocate an unprecedented budget of around €300 million to help cultural professionals and artists to collaborate across disciplines and borders, in order to find more opportunities and to reach new audiences.

The adoption lays the foundations for the first calls for proposals under the new programme. These calls will be open to all organisations active in the relevant cultural and creative sectors. The total seven-year budget of €2.4 billion has increased by 63% compared to the previous one. Creative Europe also aims to increase the cultural sector competitiveness, while supporting their efforts to become greener, more digital and more inclusive. Special attention is given to reinforcing the resilience and recovery of the cultural and creative sectors in light of the pandemic.

Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, said: “Over 8 million people across the EU work in a cultural activity. Culture knows no borders and no nationalities. Art represents a window to the world and contributes to building bridges among all of us. At a time when museums, cinemas, cultural heritage sites, theatres, all start to reopen, I want to reiterate the Commission's support for the cultural and creative sectors. With an increased budget, Creative Europe will strive to reinforce the recovery of the sectors while promoting the immense diversity and creativity that they offer us.”

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said: "Artistic and creative expression is at the heart of the cultural and creative industries and of our European identity. The reinvigorated Creative Europe programme will give a boost to European stories that resonate globally, and nurture Europe's creators, producers, distributors and exhibitors, so badly hit by the pandemic. By supporting collaboration across the value chain and linguistic borders, as well as new innovative business models, MEDIA will bolster a vibrant and culturally diverse audiovisual ecosystem. For the first time, and at a time of growing threats to media pluralism, Creative Europe will also promote a healthy and sustainable news media sector across the Union.”

A press release is available online.

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EU boost for culture

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MEPs have approved the biggest ever budget for the EU's culture and creative sectors - €2.5 billion for 2021-2027. Society 

Creative Europe is the only EU programme that exclusively supports the culture and audiovisual sectors. After a rough period for artists and the whole sector because of restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, Parliament and the Council agreed on a €2.5bn budget for 2021-2027 in December 2020. MEPs approved the agreement during the plenary session in May 2021.

Better response to different sectors and their needs

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To be able to respect the specific nature of different sectors and respond better to their needs, Creative Europe is divided into three different strands:

Culture focuses on networking, transnational and multi-disciplinary collaboration in cultural and creative sectors and fostering a stronger European identity and values with special attention for the music sector, as negotiated by MEPs.

Media is dedicated to stimulating cross-border cooperation, mobility and innovation; increasing the visibility of European audiovisual works in the new environment; and making it attractive to different audiences, especially young people.

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Cross-sectoral aims to encourage innovation, support cross-sectoral projects, the exchange of the best practices and address common challenges. Creative Europe also supports: 

  • European Heritage Label 
  • European Heritage Days 
  • European prizes for music, literature, heritage and architecture  
  • European Capitals of Culture  
Support for activities with EU added value

Creative Europe will support activities that promote common EU roots, cultural diversity and cross-border co-operation.

Promoting inclusion and gender equality

MEPs ensured a focus on inclusion and gender equality, promoting the participation of people living with disabilities, minorities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as supporting female talent.

Creative Europe 

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