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European Youth Orchestra finds EU lifeline

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European Youth Orchestra finds EU lifeline

European Union Youth Orchestra - Photo Peter Adamik

(BRUSSELS) - The European Youth Orchestra, under threat of imminent closure, found a lifeline Wednesday when the European Commission announced it had found short and long term solutions to keep it alive.

The European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO), supported by the European institutions since its launch in 1976, has been seen as a symbol of Europe's cultural diversity for 40 years.

The Commission says it wants to "keep the spirit of the Orchestra alive", by allowing it to train the best European musicians in Europe for the benefit of all European territories. In a statement it said: "We count on the Orchestra in these challenging times to adapt their activities and to spread the European spirit of freedom, creativity and openness in Europe and for Europe.

The solution, a result of a close cooperation with the European Parliament, looks like it will allow the European Union Youth Orchestra to continue in 2016 and 2017 and beyond.

EC president Jean-Claude Juncker, a patron of the EUYO, said he was greatly concerned to hear that the Orchestra had financial problems. He said he wanted "to thank the European Parliament for helping us to find the solution and notably MEPs Silvia Costa and José Manuel Fernandes."

A solution for 2016 to prevent the Orchestra from closing down is to be based on an amendment of the Creative Europe programme's current work programme, the main EU funding instrument for the cultural sector, by the implementation of an action grant for the amount of EUR 600,000.

For 2017, the European Parliament has proposed a "pilot project" to ensure that the EUYO has operational funding by amending the Commission's general budget proposal. The Commission says it would support this amendment. Several EU Member States expressed their support for the EUYO during an EU Culture and Audiovisual Council which took place on 31 May.

In the long run, the Commission says it will propose to the European Parliament and to the Council "sustainable solutions in the framework of the Creative Europe Programme" which will provide certainty for the EUYO to continue its activities. In parallel, the Orchestra has been invited to seek additional, complementary sources of financing to expand its activities.

The services of the Commission now promise to work on the details to ensure that the activities and expenditures of the EUYO are managed according to the rules and to ensure there is tight control over how funds are used and that the money is spent in a transparent, accountable manner.

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