The pandemic crisis we are suffering and its social and economic consequences have stressed the major role that culture plays in overcoming this crisis. Culture has proven to be the most valuable space for rediscovering values such as creativity, awareness, endeavour, solidarity, dialogue and the ability to transcend. But it has also confronted us with many of the shortcomings in the arts and culture sectors. A fact that we must correct in order to take advantage of their strength and potential for relaunching the European Union project and quality of life for citizens.
Europe’s rich cultural diversity is a key element for overcoming this profound crisis, which has affected all countries and involves the responsibilities of local, regional, federal and state administrations within the European Union.
Culture is not an expense but an investment. It is a crucial area for defending a way of life that places the priority on people. Culture in its various expressions is an essential factor for the style and quality of life of Europeans.
Each Member State is facing different challenges and circumstances. But culture provides all European citizens with a common thread for constructing dignity, progress, quality of life and also economic development and competitiveness.
This initiative is open to all and its main goal is to create a mindset and initiate a process of dialogue and action led by and from each country, sharing the need to improve the role of art and culture in strengthening the European Union project as a common project for peace, security, democracy, progress and the defence of human rights.
Art and culture institutions, entities, organisations, enterprises and operators must provide a process of dialogue and collaboration to administrations that can help to give culture a greater institutional, economic and social role.
Promoted by the Cercle de Cultura in Barcelona, this initiative was launched on 23 April and is now headed by the State Federation of Associations of Cultural Managers, FEAGC (Madrid), A Soul for Europe project (Berlin), the European Festivals Association (Brussels) and Alternativas Foundation (Madrid), and it also enjoys the support of several personalities linked to the arts and culture sectors as well as European institutions.
It is an open initiative that wants to share leadership with all institutions, organisations and professionals wishing to join. It aims to unite forces among all the arts and culture sectors in each of the countries of the European Union and also others that share a direct link, such as the creative economy, innovation or tourism. Together, we will be stronger. More culture! More Europe!
A manifesto in support of culture as a strategic factor in overcoming the COVID-19 crisis that is open to all institutions, NGOs, companies, artists, creators, intellectuals, technicians and cultural managers of all European Union Member States.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to culture. A rich diversity of cultural expressions in Europe is a major factor for dignity and quality of life when it comes to constructing the European Union project, as well as a key element for generating economic development, competitiveness and boosting innovation.
Cultural sectors are undergoing a crisis that has no historical precedents. Cultural activity in Europe was not as affected as it has been because of the COVID-19 pandemic even during the wars of the 20th century. Museums, libraries, publishers, art galleries, theatres, cinemas, concert and dance halls, festivals, fairs, circuses, traditional events and all manner of cultural expressions and projects have been severely affected and threaten both the continuity of artists, creators, professionals, companies, entities and institutions, and will also seriously affect the immediate future of the way we relate with and access culture.
The European Union is a project of peace, security, cooperation and progress that has led to one of the stages of greatest prosperity and quality of life for all citizens of all its Member States. Europe’s rich cultural diversity is extremely important for developing the lifestyle and common space of the European project.
Although Member States have jurisdiction over their cultural policies, we urge the main institutions of the European Union (European Parliament, Council and Commission) to include culture in the agenda of relaunching the European project, which needs to be initiated to overcome the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. We need to overcome previous shortcomings and give new impetus to the European Union project, in which culture continues to be a major factor.
The diversity and difference in supportive responses to the crisis situation in the cultural sectors that are being promoted by the Member States give us an idea of the need to improve the exchange of good practices in determining political priorities on the financing and development of culture at a European level.
This is why we are proposing that European institutions encourage Member States to work on a process of development and improvement of support and funding mechanisms by more profoundly incorporating the strategic nature of culture into the European construction project.
• Culture is a right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and an essential good that needs to be more profoundly incorporated into the European construction project.
• This means that culture must be protected and promoted with enough suitable resources that respond to this importance by Member States and also with the support and participation of European institutions.
• Culture should be more strongly integrated into the strategic plans for territorial, social and economic development at both national and European levels.
• We immediately need to incorporate “shock” measures aimed at injecting resources into the cultural sector. Beyond that of borrowing to overcome the crisis, we need to act urgently to preserve our cultural fabric by paying special attention to maintaining a balance between the public and private sectors.
• It is essential to launch measures to protect artists, creators, technicians and managers, as well as cultural companies, entities and institutions, as these are a source of wealth and work for many people.
• Greater strategic coordination of culture with economic, educational, welfare, development and cooperation policies.
• A major communication campaign is needed as soon as possible to raise awareness among European citizens about the fundamental value of culture in building a collective project of coexistence and the need for them to be involved in generating the viability of cultural sectors.
• We need to start working on coordination initiatives that can help Member States to have sponsorship and social participation laws that follow a European approval process and become a real stimulus for the participation of individuals and legal entities in financing and sponsoring culture.
• Work needs to be done to update the regulatory framework of the Member States that affects the cultural sectors by taking advantage of the true potential of culture in the strategic development of economic, social and territorial models.
• Culture sectors want to be considered as necessary as we have been in order to overcome this lockdown. But these efforts now need to be collective and European in scope. Only in this way will we be able to take advantage of the enormously rich cultural diversity of the European Union in relaunching its project for the future.
The manifesto is supported by:
Hans-Gert Pöttering / Chairman of the Former Members Association and Former President of European Parliament / Germany
Enrique Barón / Former President of European Parliament. Chairman of Fundación Yehudi Menuhin España / Madrid
Manuel Cruz / Philosopher and writer / Former President of the Spanish Senate / Barcelona
Joan Rigol / Former Catalan Ministry of Culture and Former President of Catalan Parliament / Barcelona
Doris Pack / Chair of the Franco-Germain Foundation for Cultural Cooperation and Former President of the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament / Germany
Catherine Trautmann / Co-President of Franco-German Cultural High Council and Former French Ministry of Culture / France
Hannes Swoboda / President of The International Institute for Peace and Former President of the Group of Socialists and Democrats of the European Parliament / Austria
Nikolaos Sifounakis / Former President of the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament / Greece
Petra Kammerevert / Member of the European Parliament. Former President of the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament / Germany
Maria Badia / Former Vice president of Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament / Catalonia / Spain
Segimon Borràs / Publisher. President of Cercle de Cultura / Barcelona
Kathrin Deventer / Secretary General of the European Festivals Association / Brussels
Diego López Garrido / Executive Vice President of Fundación Alternativas. Former Secretary of State for the European Union / Madrid
Santiago Fisas / Former Member of the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament / Barcelona
Zita Gurmai / President of the Party of European Socialists Women and Former Member of the European Parliament / Hungary
Volker Hassemer / President of the Zukunft Foundation / Berlin
Nele Hertling / Spokesperson for A Soul For Europe / Berlin
Daniel Innerarity / Philosopher. Director of Instituto de Gobernanza Democrática / Basque Country / Spain
Ulrich Fuchs / Director of the European Capital of Culture Linz 2009 and Marseille-Provence 2013 projects / Marseille
Jaume Lanaspa / President of the Barcelona Office of Club de Roma / Catalonia / Spain
Pia Locatelli / President of Fondazione A.J. Zaninoni for cultural promotion and training and Former Member of the European Parliament / Italy
Gabriel Magalhâes / Thinker, writer and poet / Portugal
José Manuel Pérez González (Peridis) / Architect and draftsman / Madrid
Francesc Torralba / Philosopher / Professor of Ethics at Ramon Llull University / Barcelona
Joan Manuel Tresserras / Former Minister of Culture of the Government of Government of Catalonia / Barcelona
Jordi Amat / Philologist and editor of El Món de Demà / Barcelona
Teresa Riera / Former President of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy of the European Parliament / Balearic Islands / Spain
Diana Riba / Member of the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament / Barcelona
Andreas Schieder / Member of the European Parliament / Austria
Salima Yenbou / Greens Spokeswoman of the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament / France
Pere Vicenç i Rahola / Honorary President of Cercle de Cultura and Former President of the International Publishers Association and the Federation of European Publishers / Barcelona
Jordi Alberich / Businessman / Member of the Board of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Ferran Audí / Actor and director of cinema and theatre / Member of the Board of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Laura Bertran / Director of Primer punt: Communication and institutional strategy / Member of the Board of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Airan Berg / Artistic Director of the Festival der Regionen / Austria
Lluís Bonet / Director of the Cultural Management Program of the University of Barcelona / Member of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Montserrat Bou / PROA General Secretary, Productors Audiovisuals Federats / Member of the Board of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Gemma Carbó / Cultural Manager / President of INTERARTS Foundation / Catalonia / Spain
Martín Carrasco Pedrero / Cultural Manager and Exhibition Curator / Extremadura / Spain
Jesús Cimarro / President of Academia de las Artes Escénicas de España / Spain
Santiago Manuel Cuadrado Rodríguez / Cultural Manager. Badajoz Provincial Government / Extremadura / Spain
Carles Duarte / Director of the Fundació Institució Cultural del CIC. Former President of the National Council of Culture and Arts / Member of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Daniel Fernández / EDHASA Editor. President of CEDRO (Spanish Center for Reprographic Rights) / Catalonia / Spain
Jorge Avelino Fernández de León / Cultural Manager. Member of the board of the Spanish Academy in Rome / Asturias / Spain
Jordi Font i Cardona / Cultural Manager and Secretary of the National Council of Culture and Arts / Catalonia / Spain
Mercè Franquesa / Secretary General of Cercle d’Economia / Member of the Board of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Agustín Fructuoso / Plastic artist / Member of the board of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Ángel García Carreño / Cultural Manager / Navarra / Spain
Jordi González / Vice President of Art and Contents of Grup FOCUS / Member of the Board of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Beatriz Hernández Gómez / Cultural Manager / Extremadura / Spain
Belén Latorre / Director of Fundació Antigues Caixes Catalanes / Member of the Board of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Esteve León / Cultural Manager / Senior advisor to Consorci de les Drassanes de Barcelona General Management. Teatre Lliure Trustee / Member of the Board of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Felice v. Maltzahn / Zukunft Foundation / Berlin / Germany
Miguel Ángel Martín Ramos / Delegate in Brussels and Head of European Affairs of the Fundación Academia Europea y Iberoamericana de Yuste / Member of the Strategic Group of A Soul for Europe / Extremadura / Spain
Alfons Martinell / Honorary Director of the Unesco Chair: «Cultural Policies and Cooperation» / Member of the Board of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Daniel Martínez de Obregón / President of Grup FOCUS / Member of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Rubén Morcillo Calderón / Cultural Manager. Curator of exhibitions and cultural spaces / Extremadura / Spain
Juan Carlos Moreno Piñero / Director of Fundación Academia Europea y Iberoamericana de Yuste / Extremadura / Spain
Vinyet Panyella / President of National Council of Culture and Arts / Member of the Board of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Jordi Pardo / General Manager of Pau Casals Foundation / Member of the Board of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Marta Puigderrajols / Cultural Manager / Member of the Board of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Fèlix Riera / Publisher and director of Fundació Romea / Member of the Board of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
M. Àngels Torras / Director of Serveis Territorials a Barcelona of the Department of Culture from the Catalan Government / Member of the Board of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Antoni Vila Casas / President of Fundació Vila Casas / Member of Cercle de Cultura / Catalonia / Spain
Organizations which promote the initiative:
Cercle de Cultura - cercledecultura.org
FEAGC - Federación Estatal de Asociaciones de Profesionales de la Gestión Cultural - feagc.com
ASfE - A Soul for Europe - asoulforeurope.eu
Fundación Alternativas - fundacionalternativas.org
EFA - European Festivals Association - efa-aef.eucercledecultura.org
Organizations and associations:
Acadèmia Catalana de la Música
ACPDC - Associació de Companyies Professionals de Dansa de Catalunya
ADPCE - Asociación de Directores de Producción Cinematográfica de España
Âgora Sevreis Culturals S.L
Agrupació de Colles de Geganters de Catalunya
Amics de la UNESCO Barcelona
APAC Associació de Professionals de l'Audiovisual Català
Asociación de Museólogos y Museógrafos de Andalucía
ASSITEJ España. Artes Escénicas para la Infancia y la Juventud
Associació Casal Font d'en Fargues
Associació Cultural El Galliner de Manresa (Toc d'espectacles)
Associació d'editors en llengua catalana
Associació El Cor Canta
Associació Musical Windu
Centre d'Estudis Comarcals del Segrià
Centre Moral i Cultural del Poblenou
CIATRE – Associació de Companyies de Teatre Professional de Catalunya
Cluster Audiovisual de Catalunya
Col·legi Professional de l'Audiovisual de Catalunya
Consorcio de Galerías de Arte Contemporáneo
Coral Font d'en Fargues
daniel berdala art shop
Editorial Les hores
Esbart Català de Dansaires
Escola Municipal de dansa de Celrà
EtcA - Escola de teatre i circ d'Amposta
FAETEDA - Federación Estatal de Asociaciones de Empresas de Teatro y Danza
FEAGC - Federación Estatal de Asociaciones de Profesionales de la Gestión Cultural
FECED - Federación estatal de compañías y empresas de danza
Federació Catalana de Societats Musicals
Federació de Grups Amateurs de Teatre de Catalunya
Federació Pessebres Vivents de Catalunya
FEMA - Federación de Músicos Asociados
Foment del Treball
Fundació Aigües de Manresa - Junta de la Sèquia
Fundació Antiga Caixa Manlleu
Fundació Antigues Caixes Catalanes
Fundació Orfeó Lleidatà
Fundació Pau Casals
Fundació Privada Taller de Músics
Fundación Academia Europea e Iberoamericana de Yuste
Fundación Caja de Burgos
Fundación Premio Convivencia
GEMA - Asociación de Grupos Españoles de Música Antigua
GGAC - Gremi de Galeries d'Art de Catalunya
Gremi de Llibreters de Catalunya
Life & Pictures S.L.
Llegir en Català - Associació d'Editorials Independents
Morfema T, SL
PAC - Productors Audiovisuals de Catalunya
PDC - Plataforma en Defensa de la Cultura
PIAF - Productoras Independientes Audiovisuales Federadas
Propostes Artístiques, SL
TRESC - Comunitat de Cultura
UNIMA - Unión Internacional de la Marioneta Federación España
VEGAP - Visual Entidad de Gestión de Artistas Plásticos
The updated information with the new supports will be available on the web pages of the promoting entities:cercledecultura.org