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Creative Europe needs more funds, says MEP Massimiliano Smeriglio


- The Creative Europe rapporteur gave an update on the state of play of negotiations with the Council and Commission during a recent press conference

Creative Europe needs more funds, says MEP Massimiliano Smeriglio
MEP Massimiliano Smeriglio (far right) during the press conference

During a recent press conference in Strasbourg, MEP Massimiliano Smeriglio, rapporteur for the Creative Europe programme, gave an update on the state of play of the negotiations with the European Council and European Commission, and offered his point of view on what to expect for Creative Europe over the next seven years.

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Smeriglio immediately pointed out that the funding situation is “alarming”. According to the Council’s proposal, a 20% cut can be expected for all programmes related to education and culture. “For Creative Europe,” Smeriglio said, “it would be a 53% cut to the European Parliament’s proposal, and that is highly worrying and unacceptable.” The Parliament made its position clear in April 2019, when it called for a “doubling of the budget for Creative Europe for the next seven years”, but negotiations with the Council, during the Finnish presidency, have not been conclusive on this issue.

“Right from the start of the inter-institutional negotiations, we had three trilogues under the Finnish presidency. This allowed us to come up with some good compromise solutions in relation to certain aspects, but the current negotiations have come to a standstill, and we hope to reach an agreement with the Council and the Commission that will allow us to move into a new programming period as of 1 January 2021,” Smeriglio underlined.

The importance of the Creative Europe programme lies in its ability to celebrate “creativity and diversity, making a change for the citizens who benefit from it. That is why we want to meet citizens’ expectations and ensure that programmes are ready for next year, with a budget which matches these ambitions.”

Together with MEPs Milan Zver, rapporteur for the Erasmus+ programme, and Michaela Šojdrová, rapporteur for the Solidarity Corps programme, Smeriglio described the figures from last December, as presented in the Council’s proposal, as “alarming”, since all programmes seemed likely to face a 20% cut in their budgets in the next seven years. “We cannot continue going to public debates saying how important culture is in facilitating inclusion and dialogue, and at the same time make such huge cuts to all of the programmes that provide support for culture,” Smeriglio said. “The European Parliament wants a budget that matches the ambitions of the Creative Europe programme; this is what we want for the next seven years, and it’s the only way to give proper value to culture.”

In addition, Smeriglio asked for a full mandate in the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) as the European Parliament goes into negotiations.

What he and other MEPs made clear is that the European Parliament needs to have a say both on the internal distribution of funding and on the changes to the programme and its new initiatives. At the same time, they all underlined the importance of the legislative procedure known as the co-decision, which means that the European Parliament has to exercise its right to be part of the decision-making process, especially for “programmes dedicated to young generations, which are so important for the future of Europe”.

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