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MEPs call for common minimum social standards for artists and cultural workers

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Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee called for the creation of an EU-wide framework on working conditions and minimum standards for all artists, CULT.

In a resolution adopted on Monday (27 September) by 26 votes in favour, none against and three abstentions, the Culture and Education Committee calls on Commission to propose a “European Status of the Artist”, setting out a common framework for working conditions and minimum standards for all EU countries, while fully respecting member states’ competencies on their labour market and cultural policy.

Cross-border mobility

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The differences in national legislation on an artist’s legal status and its cross-border recognition hinder collaboration and mobility. In the approved text, MEPs call on member states and Commission to remove all barriers to cross-border mobility, revising, if need be, administrative requirements on visas, taxation, and social security, as well as on the recognition of arts-based education degrees.

MEPs also call for specific programmes for the mobility of young creators and innovators.

"With this report, we have sent a strong message to improve cross-border mobility for artists, authors, cultural creators and cultural workers. It will help to give artists a better and more secure livelihood by clarifying their status and simplifying access to social security. And we will fight to solve the problems artists face today, be it on discrimination based on gender, race, origin or sexual orientation or be it political repression, which we all know is much too prominent in the EU nowadays," said the rapporteur Monica Semedo (Renew, LU).

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Copyright income and streaming platforms

Artists are exposed to unfair practices by dominant digital streaming platforms, such as buy-out clauses that deprive authors or their royalties. To remedy that, MEPs want the Commission and member states to ensure artists and cultural workers have access to collective bargaining and to strongly enforce protection for works and their creators in national copyright legislation.

Defend artistic freedom

MEPs urge Member States to foster and defend artistic freedom in order to uphold the right to freedom of expression and ensure that EU citizens can freely enjoy artistic creations. They urge the Commission to sanction EU countries that fail to uphold these freedoms.

Next steps

The resolution should be voted on by Parliament in October’s second plenary session.

Background

The pandemic has exposed the pre-existing labour vulnerabilities of artists and cultural workers: the arts is a field of employment characterised by intermittence, fragile livelihoods, weak or absent social security, MEPs say. Huge differences persist between Member States regarding support, social benefits and definitions of an artist.

In 2020, the cultural and creative sector in the EU experienced losses in turnover of over 30%, a cumulative loss of EUR 199 billion – with the music and performing arts sectors experiencing losses of 75% and 90% respectively.

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Arts

Prehistoric cave paintings in Spain show Neanderthals were artists

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A guide iluminates red ocher markings which were painted on stalagmites by Neanderthals about 65,000 years ago, according to an international study, in a prehistoric cave in Ardales, southern Spain, August 7, 2021. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Red ocher markings which were painted on stalagmites by Neanderthals about 65,000 years ago, according to an international study, are seen in a prehistoric cave in Ardales, southern Spain, August 7, 2021. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

Red ocher markings which were painted on stalagmites by Neanderthals about 65,000 years ago, according to an international study, are seen in a prehistoric cave in Ardales, southern Spain, August 7, 2021. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

Neanderthals may have been closer to our species of prehistoric modern human than previously believed after cave paintings found in Spain proved they had a fondness for creating art, one of the authors of a new scientific report said on Sunday (8 August), write Graham Keeley, Jon Nazca and Mariano Valladolid.

Red ochre pigment discovered on stalagmites in the Caves of Ardales, near Malaga in southern Spain, were created by Neanderthals about 65,000 years ago, making them possibly the first artists on earth, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal.

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Modern humans were not inhabiting the world at the time the cave images were made.

The new findings add to increasing evidence that Neanderthals, whose lineage became extinct about 40,000 years ago, were not the unsophisticated relatives of Homo sapiens they been long been portrayed as.

Pigments were made in the caves at different times up to 15,000 and 20,000 years apart, the study found, and dispel an earlier suggestion that they were the result of a natural oxide flow rather than being man-made.

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Joao Zilhao, one of the authors of the PNAS study, said dating techniques showed that ochre had been spat by Neanderthals onto the stalagmites, possibly as part of a ritual.

"The importance is that it changes our attitude towards Neanderthals. They were closer to humans. Recent research has shown they liked objects, they mated with humans and now we can show that they painted caves like us," he said.

Wall paintings made by prehistoric modern humans, such as those found in the Chauvet-Pont d’Arc cave of France, are more than 30,000 years old.

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Arts

Artwork of young Kazakhstanis presented in Luxembourg

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The Kazakh diaspora gathered recently for the meet-up of friends of Kazakhstan and for the exhibition of artworks by young Kazakhstanis called 'The world through the eyes of the children of Kazakhstan'. The event is part of the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Independence of Kazakhstan and was attended by representatives of the ministry of foreign affairs of Luxembourg, business and culture circles, public organizations of Luxembourg, as well as Kazakhs living in Luxembourg.

It was organized by the Embassy of Kazakhstan, the Kazakhstan-Luxembourg Association, and the Ayalagan Alaqan, a Public Charitable Foundation from Kazakhstan. Taking into account the importance of preserving and developing ties of the diaspora with Kazakhstan, the meetings of Kazakhs in Luxembourg are becoming a tradition.

During the meeting, Nurgul Tursyn, the president of the Kazakhstan-Luxembourg Association, spoke about the contribution of the Association in promoting the image of Kazakhstan abroad, as well as other events, aimed at enhancing cultural and humanitarian ties between the two countries.

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In his welcoming speech, Miras Andabayev, the Minister-Counsellor of the Embassy, noted that the Ayalagan Alaqan Foundation is carrying out very important work, demonstrating the creativity of Kazakhstani children who are distinguished by special talent, as well as a positive energy coming from their paintings.

The exhibition of drawings of young Kazakhstanis made a strong impression on the guests of the event, who noted that the works of children embody the state of their inner world and the desire to learn. "Looking at these drawings, we can say that these children love their country, city, the animals. They strive to learn about the world around them, and even space," one of the guests noted.

The Ayalagan Alaqan Foundation, led by Rada Khairusheva, has been organizing similar exhibitions around the world in cooperation with the Еmbassies of Kazakhstan in India, the UAE, Armenia, Latvia, France, and is currently working on other exhibitions to familiarize the international community with the creativity of young Kazakhstanis with disabilities and special educational needs.

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Source – Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Kingdom of Belgium

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LUX Audience Award 2021 goes to 'Collective'

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President David Sassoli awarded the 2021 LUX Audience Award to Collective during a ceremony in Strasbourg today (9 June).

“After the period we have just lived through, the need for people to come together, not only in spaces made for debate, but also in places like cinemas, is growing and urgent," said David Maria Sassoli (S&D, IT during the ceremony, which took place in Strasbourg as well as online.

The other two films shortlisted for the award were: Another Round by Danish director Thomas Vinterberg and Corpus Christi by Polish director Jan Komasa.

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Read more about the LUX Audience Award nominees.

The final ranking was determined by combining the average rating from the public vote and the vote by MEPs, with each group weighing 50%.

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the creative and cinema industry hard. Cinema screenings of the three finalists were limited, and were primarily replaced by online screenings and events. Audiences could rate the films until 23 May, MEPs until 8 June.

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About the winning film

Collective by Romanian director Alexander Nanau (original title Colectiv)

This stirring documentary is titled after a nightclub in Bucharest where a fire killed 27 young people in 2015 and left 180 wounded. The documentary follows a team of journalists who investigate why 37 of the burn victims died in hospitals, although their wounds were not life threatening. They uncover terrifying nepotism and corruption that cost lives, but also show that brave and determined people can reverse corrupt systems.

Collective was nominated for an Oscar in the best international feature and best documentary categories this year.

Press conference and related events

Follow the press conference with the winner, the other finalists, the European Film Academy and Sabine Verheyen (EPP, Germany), the chair of the culture committee, from 13.15 to 14.00 CET.

Tune in to our Facebook live with the winner at 14h CET.

Interested in European cinema post Covid-19? Check out the webinar on the LUX award Facebook page.

LUX Audience Award

With the LUX Audience Award, a unique pan-European audience prize, Parliament teams up with the European Film Academy to reach a wider audience and to continue to strengthen the links between people and politics. Through its film prize, Parliament has been supporting the distribution of European films since 2007, by providing subtitles in 24 EU languages for the films in final contention. The LUX prize has garnered a reputation by selecting European co-productions that engage with topical political and social issues and encourage debate about values.

The European Commission and Europa Cinemas network are also partners in the LUX Awar

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