EU support for mobility of artists and cultural professionals
The role of the European Union is to support and complement the actions of EU Member States in order to reduce barriers to mobility, provide the right environment for it, and ensure that information and advice on mobility-related issues is easy to obtain, accurate, and comprehensive.
The EU-funded Creative Europe programme (2014-2020) is supporting the mobility of artists and culture professionals with the objective of promoting the transnational circulation of cultural and creative works and operators, as well as capacity-building.
The mobility of artists and cultural professionals is a transversal issue in the EU policies. Within the European Commission, it concerns several services: DG Education and Culture, but also DG Taxation and Customs Union (TAXUD), DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion (DG EMPL) and DG Migration and Home Affairs (HOME).
EU Member States have been working together on the topic of artists' mobility since 2008 with the Open Method of Coordination (OMC), a light but structured framework of cooperation in the field of culture, facilitating the exchange of good practices and peer-learning. It involves organizing seminars for experts and stakeholders, preparing studies, drafting expert recommendations and reports, facilitating exchange of good practices among MSs and organisations, etc.
Creative Europe – 2014-2020 EU support programme for the cultural and creative sectors is fulfilling the general objectives of: safeguarding, developing and promoting European cultural and linguistic diversity and promoting Europe's cultural heritage; strengthening the competitiveness of the European cultural and creative sectors, in particular of the audiovisual sector, with a view of promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. However, the specific objectives of the programme are also to promote transnational mobility of cultural and creative players, in particular artists.
In 2014, the European Commission proposed changes to visa rules, including the establishment of a Touring Visa. If adopted this would allow non-EU nationals entering the Schengen area - which comprises 26 countries - to travel within this zone for up to one year (without staying in one country for more than 90 days in any 180-day period). This could benefit performing artists who want to spend more time in Europe. The proposals are being examined by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. They can only enter into force once approved by them both.
The expected results closely correspond to aims: reduced obstacles to mobility (both for European artists and cultural professionals within the EU as well as those coming to the EU from third countries) in terms of social security coordination, taxation, visa procedures and information provision. Nevertheless, it needs to be pointed out that the role of the EU is supporting and complementing the role of EU Member States in this regard.
The goal of the Creative Europe programme shall be the enhancement of a shared cultural area – therefore, an increase in transnational mobility of cultural professionals and artists and boost in transnational circulation of cultural and creative works can be both considered as expected results of the programme.
It is hard to specify the exact budget for policy work carried out within the framework of EU policies linked with the mobility of cultural professionals and artists, as this topic is treated as a cross-cutting issue.
The budget of Creative Europe for years 2014-2020 is 1.46 billion euros.
A stock-taking meeting was devoted to the mobility of artists and cultural professionals within the EU and beyond was organised by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Education and Culture (DG EAC), under the Work Plan for Culture 2015-2018, Priority Area D: Promotion of cultural diversity, culture in EU external relations and mobility.
The main idea behind the stock-taking meeting was to assess follow-up initiatives and progress made since 2014, when the last thematic seminar on artists' mobility was held by DG EAC in June 2014.
The thematic seminar focused mainly on obstacles to the mobility of artists arising from taxation, social security and visas, while also reflecting, in a broader sense, on the importance of cultural mobility for the creative process. A separate session of stock-taking was also devoted to the question of information provision for mobile artists and cultural professionals.