MEPs voted on January 16 by a wide margin to adopt an official European Parliament report that reviewed the recent track record of the Creative Europe programme.
Notably, the report recommends increasing funding “substantially” for the programme for its next cycle, which runs from 2028-34.
Creative Europe’s budget for the years 2021-27 is €2.44bn, up 68% compared to the previous 2014-20 programme. It has three strands: MEDIA, which supports the film sector by providing grants from development through to distribution; Culture; and Cross-sectoral.
Reviewing the MEDIA strand for the period 2021-22, the European Parliament report said that it attracted 2,124 applicants in total. Of these applicants, 63% were successful in securing funding in 2021 and 69% in 2022.
The report concluded: “The large number of applicants in the first two years demonstrates the strong interest of the European audiovisual sector in the programme…the MEDIA strand continues to play a key role in fostering growth and resilience for the sector.”
The report noted that the overall Creative Europe programme, despite its significantly increased budget for the period 2021-2027, is still oversubscribed. As a result it called on the European Commission and EU Member States “ to substantially increase the financial allocation of the Creative Europe programme 2028-2034.”
The report also offered strong support for the MEDIA strand, describing it as “the main European instrument providing strategic support to the independent audiovisual sector.”
It underlined “the vital roles” of the MEDIA programme’s European Film Distribution and European Film Sales support schemes in “contributing to the cultural diversity of the European audiovisual sector.” The report stresses that it is essential for funding for both schemes to be increased and for further efforts to be made to ensure the wider circulation and online availability of European works.
It also recognised the success of the Networks of European Festival call, which has supported 71 festivals.
Robert Heslop, Secretary General of the International Federation of Film Distributors (FIAD) said after the vote: “Today, MEPs have recognized the importance of the Creative Europe programme in supporting cultural diversity across Europe, including the MEDIA scheme targeted at enhancing the film- audiovisual sector. Within MEDIA, the European Film Distribution and European Film Sales Support schemes are valuable instruments that give a boost to the circulation of European films across the continent. Film distributors take risks by investing in and bringing non-national European films to audiences. MEDIA support offsets some of this risk and therefore must continue to be at the core of a well-financed Creative Europe Programme.”
The report also acknowledged that the application process for Creative Europe funding “is often complex,” especially for individuals and smaller organisations. It called for the costs associated with the application process to be included in the overall estimated budget costs. It also called on Creative Europe desks to further strengthen support to all applicants.
The report noted that UK is no longer a participant in Creative Europe since Brexit. From 2014-2019, the UK paid in €100m (€72m under the MEDIA strand and €27m under the Culture strand). During that time, 609 projects, involving UK beneficiaries, received around €68m.
489 MEP voted in favour of the report on the implementation of the Creative Europe Programme 2021-2027 and 87 against.
This article originally appeared on our sister site Screen