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EU culture support

The European Union obtained cultural competencies in the 1990, since within the Maastricht Treaty culture has been stated an important component of the European integration. Over the years, active cultural support has changed: While the first programmes (Kaleidoscope, Ariane, Raphael) focused on particular disciplines, up to the current programme Creative Europe support became more open and enables inter-disciplinary activities.

The programme Creative Europe started on January 1, 2014 (term 2014 - 2020) to help implementing the Europe 2020 growth strategy. General objectives are: to safeguard and promote European cultural and linguistic diversity as well as Europe's cultural heritage and to strengthen the competitiveness of the European cultural and creative sectors with a view to promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

More specific objectives and criteria for successful applications are:

  • the support of the cultural and creative sectors to operate trans- and internationally,
  • the promotion of mobility of cultural actors, in particular artists, and the transnational circulation of cultural works,
  • audience development and access to cultural and creative work,
  • to strengthen the financial capacity of SMEs and micro, small and medium-sized organisations in the cultural and creative sectors, and
  • to foster policy development and new business and management models through support for transnational policy cooperation.

The programme consists of two sub-programmes: the CULTURE sub-programme, and the MEDIA sub-programme to support the audiovisual sector. The CULTURE sub-programme includes the following strands: a) support for cultural projects, (b) European networks, (c) European platforms and (d) literary translation projects.

Applications for the support for cultural projects can be submitted annually in two categories: small scale cooperation project and large scale cooperation projects. The Creative Europe programme is managed by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, supervised by the Directorate General Education and Culture. The programme is aimed at specific objectives: the promotion of inter-cultural dialogue (1), support of international mobility of cultural actors and the circulation of cultural and artistic works (2), providing cultural and creative players with skills and competence (3), audience development (4), as well as the use of digital technology (5).

In general projects must meet a specific relevance at European level, bilateral or regional activities will not be supported. In terms of a European cooperation, several partners must be involved in the conception and organisation of a project (small scale cooperation projects: at least three partners from three countries; large scale cooperation projects: at least six partners from six countries).
Natural persons are not eligible to apply for a grant. Eligible applicants must be a public or private organisation with legal status and with a legal seat in one of the eligible countries.
Information on the application procedure is available online. It is also useful to have a look at former selected projects.

We recommend contacting the Creative Europe Desk in Bonn before submitting an application. Here project proposals and submissions are carefully checked and advice and technical assistance is given as regards formalities and plausibility.
The CED in Bonn is the national contact point for the EU’s cultural funding. It informs on the cultural support of the EU, particularly on the Creative Europe programme, and other European supporting possibilities. Detailed information is available at the webpage, also advice on individual questions is provided by telephone or email. The CED regularly hosts information seminars on EU cultural support.
CEDs operate in all countries participating in the EU Creative Europe programme, at the moment 37. A listing of the http://www.ccp-deutschland.de/ccps-in-europa.htmlCEDs in Europe including links is available at the website of CED.

The webpage Europa fördert Kultur of the Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft offers detailed information on the programme Creative Europe as well as on further EU supporting programmes that are relevant for cultural activities. Since culture is stated as a cross-sectional task, other programmes are also open for cultural projects, e.g.

  • the Structural Funds that can be of relevance for projects that support the tourism development in particular regions;
  • the programme Europe for Citizens that concerns projects encouraging citizens participation and the European integration process or
  • Erasmus+, the programme for support of the youth sector e.g.