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Converging interests around the 'creativity frame'

The formulation of the 'creativity frame' and its all-encompassing rhetoric made it a strong tool of mobilisation of what used to be an antagonistic coalition of interests. Societal actors in the cultural sector had a lot to gain by forming coalitions with formerly distant interests. Within the 'Creative and Cultural Industries' platform, for instance, representatives of the audiovisual and publishing sectors and copyright societies were brought together. If divergences exist between copyright societies, which defend a very strict application of copyright legislation, and representatives of the cultural industries, which favour greater flexibility for digital content, all actors have a strong interest in forming an advocacy alliance. First, by building a coalition, they can far more efficiently demonstrate the economic weight of the cultural industries. This is perceived as crucial, insofar as the 'Creative and Cultural Industries' platform develops its lobbying strategy not only towards DG EAC, but also towards DG Enterprise and Industry, and DG Internal Market. Second, a degree of interest convergence exists since all sectoral interests favour the promotion of a regulatory environment more propitious to the development of the cultural industries (Littoz-Monnet, 2009).

The traditional arts sector represented, for its part, within the 'Access to Culture' platform feels more ambiguous about the programmatic priorities set out by DG EAC. First, representatives of the field are of the opinion that some priorities are missing from the Cultural Agenda, in particular the role of culture as a key component of European community building. Second, they are not optimistic about being able to reach a common position together with representatives of the cultural industries, who are also represented within the same platform. To them, the cultural industries are too closely connected with the interests of intermediaries transmitting cultural content, rather than the interests of artists (Littoz-Monnet, 2010b). Generally speaking, art professionals are critical of the functioning of the Structured Dialogue, which they do not perceive as a genuine means of influencing policy formulation at the EU level. Convergence is thus not fully taking place, with the cultural sector expressing a certain degree of resistance to the 'creativity frame'.

This said, DG EAC has been successful in ensuring that the cultural sector would not openly oppose its agenda. Whilst the creativity discourse does not match cultural actors' objectives, the latter have understood that developing this rhetoric was the only way for DG EAC to extend its remit and influence within the Commission, and, by doing so, obtain greater recognition for the interests of the cultural sector. Apart from obtaining better resources, the sector also aims at acquiring recognition, from the part of the member states, that cultural policy-making must have a European dimension, in particular concerning artists' mobility and artists' rights. In the context of the enlargement of the EU eastwards, representatives of the arts sector expect that artists would benefit from the existence of EU-level minimal standards (Littoz- Monnet, 2010b). Thus, the cultural sector is not in a position to oppose the agenda defended by DG EAC, insofar as it is the only agenda which can succeed in giving culture a higher profile in the EU institutional and political context. Of course, opponents to the 'creativity frame' may still fight back and recapture the agenda, in the long run. Art sector professionals complain about the difficulties they have encountered in working together with cultural industry representatives and bringing actual weight to bear on the policy formulation process. It is, however, unlikely that they will succeed in imposing an alternative frame as a workable solution in the existing EU political and institutional context. Thus, the success of DG EAC in obtaining horizontal recognition of its new agenda is double-edged. On the one hand it could propagate its policy agenda very successfully, but on the other the discourse was framed within the contours allowed by the political and institutional context in which it operated. This could, in fact, give a higher profile to culture, but not on its own terms.

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