Brussels looks to culture to boost jobs
(BRUSSELS) - The EU executive called Wednesday for a huge increase in investment in the cultural and creative industries, which account for up to 8.5 million jobs, saying they are a key motor for Europe's growth.
Culture Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, who wants a 37 percent hike in the next seven-year EU budget, believes Europe needs to maintain its edge in the cultural and creative field due to their impact on innovation as well as tourism, fashion and other high-end industries.
But the sectors "face major challenges stemming from the digital shift and globalisation, as well as from a high fragmentation of markets along cultural and linguistic lines," Vassiliou said at a news conference.
"We need to do more to support them," she said. "I am encouraging all levels of policy governance -- at local, regional, national and EU level -- to develop integrated strategies in support of the cultural and creative sectors."
The EU's planned "Creative Europe" scheme, a 1.8 billion euro ($2.3 billion) programme spanning 2014-2020 yet to be approved by EU leaders and parliament, notably calls for the creation of a 200-million-euro loan guarantee scheme to share risk with banks in cultural start-ups.
Estimated to be worth up to 4.5 percent of European Union GDP, the cutting-edge cultural sector is facing increasing competition not only from US firms but from emerging giants in China, South Korea and India.
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