Culture is future »

05.22.2014

« The May 25th vote will be cultural or will not be » by Hervé Rony, Laure Kaltenbach and Olivier Le Guay on The Huffington Post

Put the culture back at the heart of the European vote: here is the stake of our call on the eve of the vote of the 25th of May 2014. The renewal of a parliament which has power over a new Commission is a chance for citizens and creators. This is a vote for a creative Europe respectful of future generations!

Article previously published in french on the Huffingtonpost.fr

Vote for a new creative step of Europe. Artists are going into action. Dany Boon, Guillaume Gallienne, Virginie Efira and others are calling to vote for a Europe of culture in a video filled with a poetic and vital emergency, posted a few days ago on the Forum d’Avignon think tank’s website. This is where the necessity of the European vote on the 25th of May 2014 lies: uniting citizens around a community project, conveying an outstanding dynamic. After the Europe of Peace and of the common economic development – which is still weak as proven by the shadows covering Ukraine –the founding fathers have bequeathed us, it is time for us to take over. Voting for a creative Europe is taking a part in the future of the continent with responsibility, vision and imagination.

Time of isolationism is fatal. If the Europe of prosperity is still to be established on new bases, pleading for ‘every man for himself’ will not make us resist to the attempts of economic, politic, digital and obviously cultural hegemony from continents that eye our market : from northern and southern Americas to Asia (leading by China and India). Voting for a Europe of culture is playing a part in a historical exemplary construction in the light of History and the world.

From his cultural diversities, Europe, even if it is difficult, draws her creation, her attractiveness and her future. Astounding breeding ground for gifted persons, places and meetings to discover and to make discover, our Europe with her 23 languages, 400 regions, 30 000 museums and as many cinema screens, 338 UNESCO world heritage sites and 50 000 public libraries is the universal embodiment of cultural diversity. This is also the guarantee of his attractiveness, the driver – that needs to restart – of a federative dynamic able to gather her citizens and finally, by the constant innovation that she needs, to imagine new models of economic and sustainable growth. Facing this challenge, the creators also need to walk the talk. Voting for a Europe of cultural diversity is voting to maintain this exceptional dynamic sustained by men and women of conviction in favour of a shared culture.

This common utopia remains the guarantee of our living together even if it generates doubts that appear unbearable for some and unattainable for others. Let’s value where we come from! Almost 100 years ago, barely all Europe was at war. In the name of chipped comfort, we should not write off the completed steps, which always need to be consolidated: peace and security, unification and enlargement, cohesion and development... Admittedly, in this historic course, improvements are still needed to bring Europe closer to the citizens who compose her, to develop creation and enhance talents.

Care would be needed to prevent people who demonized her from smothering it. Her ambitions – always seducing – remain intact: respecting diversity speaking with one voice, preserving identities and each others’ cultures while promoting the melting pot, building a unique market without dogmatism while remaining open-minded, relying on specialized global business leaders while brooding individual entrepreneurs, as many paradoxes to transform and obstacles to overcome ... Rather than giving in to the Europebashing, it is important to give a new impetus to Europe that does not oppose the world of culture to the digital one, nor creators to entrepreneurs, nor innovation to creation. Voting for a Europe of creation is saying no to these archaic antagonisms to develop a new European collaboration.

Building the Europe of culture rests upon three pillars: cultural diversity, creators’ rights and democratic participation in the territories’ cultural reshaping.

Facilitating cultural diversity by promoting the benefits, literally and symbolically, of cultural investment, which creates value, jobs and social interaction. Its proper specificities cannot be limited to its mere economic dimension. It must nevertheless convince investors that the evaluation of a cultural investment can be appreciated regarding measurable quality criteria.

• Promoting assessment and protection of the creator’s rights (intangible assets such as trademarks, patents or copyrights). This modern and effective implement for financing creation and innovation is neither outdated nor an obstacle to the development of digital technology. It is not copyrights that disrupt the European market, but the fiscal disparities.

• Finally, making the way we invest in culture change through the emergence of a generation of creators and cultural entrepreneurs: developing the training versatility, developing, as soon as the initiation of a project, some development agencies networks thanks to general interest labels, and finally, supporting private cultural investment : such as the "Creative business angel ", the opening of eligibility criteria for investment funds, the collective cultural funding and sponsorship, which are as many tools of individual and societal involvement.

Voting for a Creative Europe is saying to the world that we are Europeans. Outside Europe, we are perceived as a coherent whole, strengthened by the diversity of our languages, heritage and culture. Why don’t we manage to convince ourselves? The new Parliament and the new Commission can neither escape nor fail. The stakes are huge for the future generations. Only a positive project will gather us. So let’s fix an appointment with the following Parliament and Commission in November 2014 for an official submission of concrete proposals so that the Europe of culture may live.

Hervé Rony, Managing director of the SCAM, Laure Kaltenbach, Managing director and Olivier Le Guay, Editorial manager of the Forum d’Avignon.