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Cees de Graaff
Role
Director
Email
c.degraaff [at] dutchculture.nl

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Marjolein van Bommel
Role
Head of Mobility & Advice / Creative Europe Desk NL
Email
m.vanbommel [at] dutchculture.nl
 

European Parliament: call for common minimum social standards for artists and cultural workers

European Parliament: call for common minimum social standards for artists and cultural workers

Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee called for the creation of an EU-wide framework on working conditions and minimum standards for all artists.
By Janna Schwab

In a resolution adopted on Monday by 26 votes in favour, none against and 3 abstentions, the Culture and Education Committee calls on Commission to propose a “European Status of the Artist”, setting out a common framework for working conditions and minimum standards for all EU countries, while fully respecting member states’ competencies on their labour market and cultural policy. This call is intended for cross-border mobility programmes for young creators and innovators, with the means of better protection for authors and performers from dominant streaming platforms and the need to improve the vulnerable situation of artists urgent due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cross- border mobility

The differences in national legislation on an artist’s legal status and its cross-border recognition hinder collaboration and mobility. In the approved text, Members of The European Parliament (MEP) call on member states and Commission to remove all barriers to cross-border mobility, revising, if need be, administrative requirements on visas, taxation, and social security, as well as on the recognition of arts-based education degrees. MEPs also call for specific programmes for the mobility of young creators and innovators.

Copyright income and streaming platforms

Artists are exposed to unfair practices by dominant digital streaming platforms, such as buy-out clauses that deprive authors or their royalties. To remedy that, MEPs want the Commission and Member States to ensure artists and cultural workers have access to collective bargaining and to strongly enforce protection for works and their creators in national copyright legislation.

Defend artistic freedom

MEPs urge Member States to foster and defend artistic freedom in order to uphold the right to freedom of expression and ensure that EU citizens can freely enjoy artistic creations. They urge the Commission to sanction EU countries that fail to uphold these freedoms. "With this report, we have sent a strong message to improve cross-border mobility for artists, authors, cultural creators and cultural workers. It will help to give artists a better and more secure livelihood by clarifying their status and simplifying access to social security. And we will fight to solve the problems artists face today, be it on discrimination based on gender, race, origin or sexual orientation or be it political repression, which we all know is much too prominent in the EU nowadays", said the rapporteur Monica Semedo (Renew, LU).

The resolution should be voted on by Parliament in October’s second plenary session.

Background

The pandemic has exposed the pre-existing labour vulnerabilities of artists and cultural workers: the arts is a field of employment characterised by intermittence, fragile livelihoods, weak or absent social security, MEPs say. Huge differences persist between the Member States regarding support, social benefits and definitions of an artist.

In 2020, the cultural and creative sector in the EU experienced losses in turnover of over 30%, a cumulative loss of EUR 199 billion – with the music and performing arts sectors experiencing losses of 75% and 90% respectively.