In Paris on 4 April 2014
At a time when Europe is about to renew its Parliament and its Commission, we want to draw the attention of European citizens, political leaders and bodies.
If many of our fellow citizens no longer believe in the European idea, we are convinced that renewal and hope depend in particular on culture and creation.
Culture, in all its diversity, is what brings us together. It is undoubtedly our specificity and certainly our common good. It helps shape and build this Europe, consolidates its identity and fuels its economic dynamism.
For centuries, our continent has been a land of creation, where creativity, diversity and originality flourish.
But today, doubt is allowed: is everything done to ensure that Europe remains this land of freedom and vitality of creation?
The economic, political and moral crisis we are experiencing threatens the cultural ambition of our continent.
In too many countries, culture was one of the first victims of budget cuts.
Artists and creators make a fundamental contribution to the values of European societies and their economies. Culture represents an important part of Europe’s wealth and creates jobs; it is a source of cohesion for our societies and is able to build European identity. Risk-taking, commitment and freedom of artistic gesture must be supported and encouraged.
It is to defend the cultural exception and demand the strict application of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions of 2005 that we made our voices heard last year during the draft negotiations trade between the European Union and theUnis. Because we believe in the future of European creation, because we are more than ever committed to ensuring that the public can continue to have access to our works.
Culture in Europe is strong in its differences, in the diversity of its expressions and languages. However, there is a risk that this diversity will be challenged by European policies that are always suspicious of cultural policies and too often complacent and passive towards Internet multinationals.
The digital revolution is an opportunity for culture. Culture is also an opportunity for digital technology because the works of the mind are an indispensable fuel and oxygen. We are convinced of that. On the condition however that it is not confiscated by companies in a monopoly situation and that the rules of the game exist in Europe to maintain two permanent principles of support for creation: broadcasters contribute to the financing of creation; cultural goods and services benefit from specific and reduced taxation.
It is a crucial challenge for the modernization of our cultural policies to integrate all broadcasters, particularly these Internet giants, into the creative economy. It is also an issue of equity among all cultural broadcasters and a challenge for the future.
In this context:
• we expect the European Commission to give its full place to a renewed and confident relationship between Europe and creation
• We expect European leaders to commit themselves to proactively promoting culture and works, because they are an asset for our continent and an essential part of the European project;
• we expect the European Union to commit itself to supporting the diversity of creations and cultural expressions in the digital age, to ensure that all actors of culture, European artists and audiences can benefit fully from the opportunities offered by the digital revolution;
• We expect that every effort will be made to ensure that our continent remains a welcoming place for creation and risk-taking; to do this, creators must be able to continue to benefit from a high level of protection of their rights.
• We hope that European policy will make the conquest of new audiences and cultural democratization a priority, in order to build a true European space of creation and culture fully involving creators and citizens.
Signatories: Keren Ann, Lucas Belvaux, Pablo Berger, Julie Bertucelli, John Boorman, Fred Breinersdorfer, Peter Brook, Jean-Claude Carrière, Marc Cerrone, Boris Charmatz, Stijn Coninx, Vladimir Cosma, Luc Dardenne, Jacob Desvarieux, Dominique A, Pascal Dusapin, Yves Duteil, Thomas Dutronc, Jacques Fansten, Stephen Frears, Costa-Gavras, Jochen Greve, Agnès Jaoui, Jean-Michel Jarre, Michel Jonasz, Issam Krimi, La Grande Sophie, Maxime Le Forestier, Les Brigitte, Blanca Li, Daniele Luchetti, Lars Lundström, Macha Makeieff, Bruno Mantovani, Radu Mihaileanu, Passi, Benoît Peeters, Jean-Paul Salomé, Jordi Savall, Vokler Schlöndorff, Eric Serra, Hugh Stoddart, Béla Tarr, Bertrand Tavernier, Joachim Trier, Enrique Urbizu, Jaco Van Dormael…