EU Funding for Culture: The New Programme Explained in 5 Steps

creative-europe-logoFrom Culture 2007-2013 to “Creative Europe”: new sectors, new focus, new mechanisms
With the last calls for ‘Culture 2007-2013’ closed, cultural and creative industry organisations are all awaiting the launch of “Creative Europe”,for the new framework programme for culture:. “Creative Europe”. This article gives an overview of this new programme, describes its funding priorities, and gives some pointers for organisations that already want to prepare for the next call. (Updated with new information from late July 2013 on the developments)

 1) Why a New EU Funding Programme for Culture?

“Creative Europe” will succeed the current Funding Programme “Culture 2007-2013”. 

All EU Programmes are agreed for a limited number of years – usually six to seven. This gives the EU the chance to review and revise their funding instruments on a regular basis. The current funding programme – Culture 2007-2013 – will stop at the end of this year. In November 2011, the European Commisison first proposed its successor programme, titled “Creative Europe”. This programme will be valid for 2014-2020.

 2) What are the main differences to the current programme?

  1. It combines 3 current programmes: Culture, MEDIA and MEDIA Mundus
  2. It creates a new instrument: bank loans for the cultural sector and the creative industries
  3. It sets new objectives, based on the overall EU 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth
  4. There may be an increase in funding, however this is still a matter of some heavily debated between the Council and the European Parliament.
 I) Combining Culture, MEDIA and MEDIA Mundus

As, the culture and media sectors are becoming closer through the digital shift, the Commission aims to manage these different funding streams under one single framework programme. The aim is to lift artificial barriers, support synergies between the sectors, and benefit from best practices established in the previous programmes.

The new programme will consist of three strands: one for Culture, one for MEDIA and a trans-sectoral strand. The funding will be distributed as follows: 30% for Culture, 55% for Media, and 15% for trans-sectoral activities. These include the financial guaranteed for the bank loans (financial facility), support for data collection and sharing, plus pilot projects. Here, the Commission also mentions support of trans-national policy cooperation, innovative approaches to audience building and new business models.

 II) A New Instrument: Loans Through the Financial Facility

Originally, more than €200 million of the overall funding was to be invested in a new financial guarantee facility, however, this amount will be significantly smaller, due to the cuts to the overall budget. The financial guarantee will be managed by the European Investment Fund (EIF). The EIF will work with a network of European banks whoich are willing to create a portfolio of loans specifically tailored to the needs of the cultural and creative sectors. The funding will help banks to increase their knowledge of the cultural sector and creative industries and create tailored loans. According to the Commission, this new instrument will enable cultural operators to access up to €1 billion in bank loans. Again, this sum will be shrinking in line with the reduced funding for the financial guarantee.

III) New Objectives – Supporting the Europe 2020 Strategy

While it was always clear that the culture programme also adhers to the key objectives of the European Union – transnational exchange and distribution – there is now an explicit link the the Europe 2020 strategy: a key emphasis of the new programme is to optimise the sector’s potential for economic growth, job creation and social inclusion.

Creative Europe - Funding IV) Increased Funding?

In the original version, the European Commission, proposed a budget of  €1.8 billion for the 2014-2020 period (€900 million for cinema and the audiovisual sector and €500 million for culture). This would have been be an increase of 34% compared to the current programme. However, discussions are still on-going, with the European Council suggesting a budget of maximal € 1.5 million, and the European Parliament aiming to keep the original sum. Update: on 17 July, the Committee of the Permanent Representatives agreed on the compromise text. The budget is now set at The overall budget of the programme is EUR 1.462 billion.  The Lithuanian Council Presidency will now have to finalise the outstanding issues, namely the co-financing rates and budgetary allocations. It is expected that the new instrument – the financial guarantee for bank loans – will be cut by up to 50%, while the funding for culture and media are to be kept at least at the level of the Culture 2007-2013 programme.

3) What & Who Will the New Programme Fund?

Project Types:
The programme will continue to fund cooperation projects, European networks and platforms, and literary translation in the field of culture. It will no longer fund festivals or cultural ambassadors. To date, no information about the project durations or funding ceilings are available.

creative-europe-movieFunding Types:
All grants will be project grants – operational grants will be abolished. In addition, cultural and creative SMEs can apply for loans under the new financial facility. To date, no information about the percentage of required match-funding is available, however Commission sources say that they will very similar to the Culture 2007-2013 programme.

The international dimension is to be strengthened. Creative Europe will be open to organisations based in EU Member States, as well as the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, EU accession and candidate countries, potential candidates and neighbourhood countries. UpdateAt the Odessa International Film Festival in mid-July 2013, European Commission’s Irina Orssich explained that key prerequisites for full participation of accession candidates countries in Creative Europe would be for any of these countries to have the World Trade Organisation’s most-favoured-nation¨ status of the audiovisual sector and respect of certain conditions laid down in the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) directive. Alternatively, a national government could decide to conclude a bilateral agreement with the European Commission on specific actions in the future framework programme. Other  countries may be involved in specific calls. As before, individuals will not be eligible for funding.

 4) Will the Application Process Change?


According to the European Commission, application and participation will be simplified. In particular, the following actions are planned:

  • no more operating grants – project grants only
  • greater use of flat rates
  • an electronic portal for applicants will be created

More information will be published once the new project guides and implementation rules are available.

 5) What Are the New Selection Criteria?

While these are not available to date, the revised objectives point towards an inclusion of the following criteria:

  1. European dimension/ capacity building / training in order to operate (bettermore effciently) transnationally
  2. transnational circulation of cultural and creative works
  3. potential to reach new audiences in Europe and beyond
  4. quality of partnership/ consortium
  5. cultural/ creative excellence
  6. sustainability/ long-term impact; ability to strengthen the financial capacity of the sector and of SMEs in particular
 New priority: capacity building

Already a focus in the current MEDIA programmes, capacity building will become increasingly important for the cultural branch of “Creative Europe”. Organisations and their staff will be asked to show how their proposal contributes to learning, knowledge transfer and cross-fertilisation.

New priority: supporting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth

As with the current programme, “Creative Europe” aims to foster the European cultural and linguistic diversity through its activities. However, it now contains a stronger link to the Europe 2020 strategy, aiming to strengthen the competitiveness of the cultural and creative sectors with a view to promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. This includes a focus on innovation, new audiences and new business models.

New horizontal theme: digitisation

Exploring new forms of distribution, production and collaboration using digital tools and channels will be one of the horizontal themes that should be present in all projects. Evidence of how these tools will be used to reach more people, ensure a wider distribution, and more sustainable cultural products should be available. This new theme is also closely linked to capactiy building – ensuring that artists and cultural operators have the skills and knowledge to use digital tools and channels.

New focus: audience engagement

A stronger focus is put on audience building and on the sectors’ capacity to interact with audiences more directly, for example through new interactive online tools. In particular, building audiences across national borders will be seen as a key benefit. A strong outreach and engagement strategy will be required – a simple communication plan will most likely not be enough.

 Where can I find out more?

The DaVinci Institute offers regular briefings, training and tailored consulting on European culture funding programmes. Please get in touch if you would like to receive our EU-Culture briefing, or would like to join our trainings sessions, or need help in preparing a proposal. You may also like our article and Slide Show: EU Funding for Culture: From Idea to Application

EU-cultureThe following EU links offer additional information:



NEW: Download the updated article in our DaVinci Smart Creativity Newsletter for July 2013


If you found this article useful, please consider commenting or sharing it 

Comments 1

  1. Pingback: EU Culture Funding: The New Programme Explained in 5 Steps | DaVinci Institute Blog | Língua sen maos 2.1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *