FIAD welcomes Parliament's focus on "the situation of artists and the cultural recovery in the EU"
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis presents unprecedented challenges for European film distributors. Distribution is a fragile sector by its nature, dealing with an important gap between the upward investments and the future potential incomes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the level of risk to the sector is critical since the numerous lockdowns have forced the closure of cinemas and tragically undermined the reach of many films, while those that could be held back for a release post-crisis will have to take their chances in an overcrowded and disrupted market.
Distributors across Europe are suffering a severe cash flow shortage that:
Threatens the investment in existing and future productions.
Curtails the marketing and release of culturally diverse films, all around Europe.
Challenges the international circulation of films.
Given these extremely challenging conditions FIAD is glad to see the European Parliament dedicate time and effort to examine the "situation of artists and the cultural recovery in the EU" through an Own Initiative Report.
As the European film sector is a central tenet of Europe's rich and diverse culture - and film distributors are the lynchpin of the film value chain, helping to connect filmmakers with finance and finished films with wide-ranging audiences - FIAD is looking forward to working with the CULT Committee on how the report can reflect the challenges faced by film distributors and offering recommendations for a sustainable and swift recovery.
See below for a write up of the CULT Committee's exchange of views on the report.
On 16 March, the CULT Committee discussed the INI on the situation of artists and the cultural recovery in the EU.
All MEPs who spoke were not only in agreement that the pandemic continues to have a detrimental effect on the sector, but also that it exacerbated pre-existing structural weaknesses.
The first speaker was Rapporteur Semedo (LU, Renew), asserting that “in most EU countries, artists are [the] most affected group by containment measures”, not only in terms of economic damages, but likewise in loss of perspective. Semedo continued that the “impossibility to exercise [their] jobs and the uncertainty may lead them to quit the field”; hence, urgent support is needed to prevent a “cultural crisis”, on top of the one we are living in.
The Rapporteur wants the cultural and creative industries to become more resilient, which will bring many benefits to society. “Art isn’t just entertainment, but a driver for societal change”, Semedo claims.
Shadow Rapporteur Matic (HR, S&D) emphasised the need to “provide financial support, taking into account its peculiarities and the fact that culture depends on the public”. Shadow Rapporteur Slabakov (BG, ECR) adds that “artists are not beggars” and that “the EU is in a position to help, not just with money, but also infrastructure”. The MEP asks the EU to increase its funding from 2%, which he deems “very low”, to 4%. CULT Committee Chair MEP Verheyen (DE, EPP) agreed, stating that, while being a “huge social, human quality”, culture is also an important “economic factor” that cannot be overlooked.
Shadow Rapporteur Georgoulis (GR, Left) called for the establishment of “minimum income standards, social security benefits and harassment free safety, at work and education”, whereas MEP Adinolfi (IT, Independent) insisted that the support should also be geared towards the “hundreds of workers supporting artists behind the scenes”.
MEPs Nienass (DE, Greens), Ehler (DE, EPP) and Farreng (FR, Renew) highlighted the importance of the Copyright Directive to protect and enhance the position of those working in the cultural and creative industries. Nienass alerted that “we see an increase of streaming but no increase of revenue for artists”, contributing to Ehler’s claims that the full implementation of the Directive is crucial to fix the remuneration discrepancy between creators and streamers.
Susanne Hollmann, Deputy head for cultural policy, stated that the Commission will “consult civil society on working conditions of artists” later this year, share good practises of the Member States, and give recommendations.