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EU cultural support instruments

Pursuant to Article 167(5) TFEU, two instruments may be used at the EU level to encourage cultural cooperation between the member states: incentive measures and recommendations. For the adoption of incentive measures the ordinary legislative procedure is followed, with the additional requirement that the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) be consulted. The Treaty of Lisbon extended the application of qualified majority Council voting to incentive measures, previously requiring unanimity, with a view to facilitating decision-making and speeding up procedures, especially in the enlarged Union. The requirement of unanimity had been consistently identified by the European Parliament (Parliament) as a main cause of the slow progress on implementing effective support for culture (Barnett, 2001: 412).

Cultural support programmes pre-2014

The cultural powers attributed to the EU allowed for the adoption of incentive measures in the form of funding programmes. Kaleidoscope, Ariane, and Raphael ran between 1996 and 1999 and focused on the performing and applied arts, literature and translations, and cultural heritage respectively (European Parliament and Council, 1996, 1997a, 1997b). They were succeeded by a single financing instrument, operational until 2006, Culture 2000 (European Parliament and Council, 2000b, 2004a). With a budget of €167 million, this stressed the integrative role of culture and the development of 'a cultural area common to the European people' as the key aim of cultural cooperation (European Parliament and Council, 2000b: Recital 7). The programme pursued an array of objectives, including the promotion of intercultural dialogue and the recognition of culture as an economic factor and as a source of socio-economic development. Financial support was granted to cooperation projects involving organisations from at least three member states and to special cultural events such as the European Capitals of Culture.

Support for cultural cooperation activities continued with an increased budget of €400 million in light of the enlarged Union by means of the Culture 2007-2013 programme (European Parliament and Council, 2006a). The general objective of this programme was to enhance the cultural area shared by Europeans through multilateral cultural cooperation, with a view to encouraging the emergence of European citizenship. The programme focused on promoting the transnational mobility of artists; advancing the circulation of artistic works; and encouraging intercultural dialogue. Similar to Culture 2000, it followed a transversal approach, being open to participation by all cultural sectors, except the audiovisual sector. Besides cultural organisations, the programme also addressed cultural industries acting in a non-profit-making capacity, in particular small enterprises. Three types of intervention were eligible for funding: cooperation projects; institutions active in the cultural field at the European level; and analysis and dissemination activities.

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