Interesting article on the Parliament Magazine about embedding culture into policymaking at all levels to make sure the EU recovers economically, socially and emotionally from the pandemic into a more inclusive and cohesive union.

The COVID-19 crisis is a major test of the EU’s unity and solidarity. On the positive side, Member States have reached a historical deal with Next Generation EU. On the flip side, old and new divides are resurfacing (e.g., rule of law, migration, climate change) now that the recovery fund has started rolling out, further testing European solidarity. How do citizens relate to Europe? Will the recovery funds help heal societies that are deeply affected by the crisis economically, socially and emotionally?

During the pandemic, we saw how culture has the capacity to bring us together as a community and help repair traumatised societies. Culture is not a leisure or a form of entertainment. It weights economically (representing 4.4% of EU GDP in pre-COVID times) but is first and foremost a sense-maker: defining who we are and guiding what we care for. It is the driver of our choices and our dreams.

Throughout the pandemic, culture has been the lifeline for many, providing hope and strength. Although among those most affected by the pandemic – with revenues dropping up to 90% for some (GESAC study Rebuilding Europe, Jan 2021) –, artists, creators, cultural entrepreneurs have shown extraordinary resilience that needs to be not only acknowledged but invested in to re-build and re-imagine Europe.

The European Cultural FoundationCulture Action Europe and Europa Nostra representing the cultural and cultural heritage sector by and large, launched in the midst of the pandemic A Cultural Deal for Europe. The purpose of the initiative, welcomed by leading European political voices like European Parliament President David Sassoli and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, is to cement the position of culture in European and national policymaking.