Rebuilding Europe: 3 things about Europe’s creative industries and post-pandemic recovery

On 23 March the European Authors’ Society brought together representatives of EU institutions and industry professionals for an online discussion on Rebuilding Europe, a recent report by EY on Europe’s creative industries before and after the pandemic. The report explains why the recovery of these industries should be a priority for EU countries as well as the main challenges they face. 

“We need to be the yes party, those who provide facts and ideas” said European Authors’ Society president Jean-Noël Tronc on how the report will contribute to the creative sector’s recovery. What did we learn from this online event? 

1. The creative sector is a European economic heavyweight. 

“Before conducting the study, the perception was that the cultural and creative industries’ value was mainly social rather than economic, but it turned out to be the opposite. These sectors are more ready than any of us think to take Europe to the next level”, said Marc Lhermitte, leader of the EY team who wrote the report. European creative industries are a smart investment, not a burdensome subsidy. 

The advertising sector is a good example: between 2013 and 2019 it grew faster than the European economy on average, before the pandemic caused the industry’s turnover to fall by 28%. 

2. There is a will… 

Tronc thanked the EU institutions, who had been keen to work together with the stakeholders and to respond to the plight of Europe’s creative industries.  

Viviane Hoffmann, Deputy Director General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture at the European Commission, said that the cultural sector had been taken into account in several EU funding instruments, from the Recovery and Resilience Facility to Horizon Europe. Mirzha de Manuel from the cabinet of Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis said that the Commission has encouraged EU countries to include the creative industries in their recovery plans.   

3.  … but we are still looking for the way 

Still, most speakers saw trouble ahead for the creative industries for at least another year. 

Publisher Pedro Sobral pointed out that “what booksellers can get through the digital funds of the Recovery and Resilience Facility will not be enough to compensate for the losses suffered during the pandemic.” The same is true for other creatives.  

MEP Christian Ehler was even more damning. “We are not organised and the efforts are fragmented,” Mr Ehler said, though some initiatives, like the New Bauhaus, were going in the right direction. 

The speakers concluded that the creative industry needs to present the EU institutions with a concrete plan that looks into the future beyond the immediate crisis, while the EU institutions need to find new ways of working together to support this diverse sector. 

Check the full report.