eipcp Policies
08 2003

Post Culture 2000


The eipcp-paper Post Culture 2000 proposes standards for the successor program of the European cultural framework program Culture 2000.
Culture 2000 (cf. http://europa.eu.int/comm/culture/eac/culture2000/cult_2000_en.html) was the first attempt for a structured and unified European Union action in the field of culture (for the years 2000 to 2004, with an extension for 2005 and 2006). In 2007 Culture 2000 will be replaced by a new program, which is to be developed during the next months and years.

This paper summarises three different fields of experience of our institute in setting up concrete proposals for the general form, the main objectives, and an improved administrative processing of such a program:
- the practical experience of the eipcp and cooperating colleagues in coordinating projects with the support of the program Culture 2000,
- the involvement of eipcp protagonists and correspondents as experts in the selection procedure, and in the evaluation of the first two years (2000/2001) of Culture 2000,
- the research carried out and the debate initiated by the eipcp on a conceptual framework for new European cultural politics.
As for this third stage, in April 2003 our institute published the book "Anticipating European Cultural Policies" (cf. http://eipcp.net/policies/aecp) that proposes a new set of terms and concepts to be deployed in the field of cultural politics. As this paper is thought to be an operationalisation and concretisation of the concepts in "Anticipating European Cultural Policies", those terms and concepts will not be explained in detail here. In our view it is necessary to institute the discourse and develop a conceptual basis for a new - or better: the first - coherent conception of strategic cultural policies in Europe.
"Anticipating European Cultural Policies" concludes with a condensed list of recommendations for future European cultural policies. This paper is intended to define the next steps and translate those recommendations into concrete mechanisms and possible forms for a new cultural framework program of the EU.

This paper focuses on four 'objectives', which are to be pursued:
introducing new criteria of cultural action in the framework of democratic politics in Europe, enabling multilateral cooperation in an expanded Europe, inaugurating new organisational forms in the cultural field, and establishing the appropriate administrative background for the implementation of the respective projects. However, the basis for these four projects is to be seen in the following political preconditions of a successor program within the small world of European cultural politics:

- Europe urgently needs a coherent and comprehensive strategy concerning its cultural politics. Despite assertions in Sunday speeches, cultural politics represents a marginal component of European politics. Although European institutes and networks are constantly trying to close the gap between practices and policies, we observe a significant lack of proficiency and advanced concepts in the field of European cultural politics. Protagonists of this wasteland are politicians clumsily using the same hollow phraseology, behind which they hide their incompetence, an inability to deal with conflicts, and the affirmation of a certain status quo. As a result we identify a total lack of coherent sets of objectives for European cultural policies.
At the moment the different programs supporting cultural activities are dispersed across different policy areas (from MEDIA to SOCRATES, from URBAN to EQUAL), and this has led to a random patchwork of support schemes that are not at all linked to one another. Here we first need a transparent and consistent overview of the existing partial and particular objectives and inquiry into their effectivity, especially in relation to the general situation of European cultural politics as a transversal project. A decisive policy is needed that takes all these aspects into account and relates them to each other, instead of expecting the operators to be grateful with breadcrumbs from different budget lines and programs from which they happen to benefit.

- Beyond the transversal quality of cultural politics and a necessary coherence of all the different programs in favour of culture, the central cultural framework program needs a concise set of strictly limited priorities and precise objectives that will be proportionate to the budgetary means set aside for this program. Policy concepts like "heritage protection", "innovation", "creativity" or "cultural identity" produce projects as hollow and affirmative as they sound. They should be replaced by a set of clear criteria taking into account the contemporary status of theories and practices in the cultural field.

- On the basis of coherent aims of their policies and clarified competencies and structures, the different EU institutions should not narrow their focus on EU actions, but also play a proactive role in activating and formalising the national/regional/local support for transnational cultural cooperation. Special cooperation agreements need to be established between the EU and the culture ministries, especially of the (pre-)accession countries.

- On a global level, instruments and measures must be developed to overcome the bipolar logic of internal cultural action in Europe (focussing on cultural cooperation) on the one hand, and external cultural relations (focussing on the promotion of Europe) on the other hand. This antagonism must be transformed into a constantly developing continuum of cultural cooperation in/with different and specific geographic areas all over the world.

- In order to meet the ambitious aims of a new cultural framework program in a period of ongoing enlargement, there is an urgent need for adequate resources: That means a significant increase of the culture budget of the EU.


I. Objective: New Criteria

In the existing EU programs for culture there is much talk about concepts like "innovation" or "new technologies". Such hollow criteria have no impact on the quality of the projects, the applications and the selection of the projects at all. On the contrary, the reference to new technologies in the current program leads, in many cases, to applications that underline the production of cd-roms and websites without investing any new idea into developing and experimenting with forms and contents of new technologies. And to add an air of innovation, even the most conservative and established projects in cultural heritage try to construct some lofty connection between the "art of the past" and "Europe of tomorrow". To overcome these professional deficiencies of the authors of cultural programs and the cultural operators trying to adapt their projects to certain phrases, the new cultural program has to delineate a focused and clear set of criteria that link cultural policies to the wider framework of democratic politics and more sharply define what kinds of projects should be supported:

- cultural initiatives that contribute to the production of critical public spheres, activate and pluralise public debates

- cultural initiatives that actively deal with issues of democratic politics such as equality, gender, migration and citizenship

- cultural initiatives experimenting with new forms of public access and models of participation in the cultural field, also, but not only, in the field of emerging technologies

- emerging projects of non-mainstream cultural initiatives that operate beyond and against traditional modes of production and distribution

- contemporary transversal research and theory production in the cultural field beyond the conventional academic schemes and divided specialisms

- experimental practices in dealing with multilingual editing and publishing in the cultural field

All applications should be evaluated according these criteria without exception.

The new cultural framework program should not support:
- Flagship projects

"Action 3" of Culture 2000 was not successful, suffered a lack of transparency in selection, a small number of applications and disappointed those who envisaged a significantly stronger visibility for (culture in) Europe through the so-called flagship projects. The approach of instrumentalizing projects of an assumed symbolic or emblematic potential in order to gain an added value in visibility is thoroughly unsuitable and an outdated approach for a cultural framework program.

- As the limited priorities should focus on the above-mentioned objectives, not on criteria of market and economic impact, cultural/creative industries (including translation projects of enterprises and publishing houses) should be supported through different budget lines.

- Projects of cultural heritage institutions should no longer be able to merely relate to the fact that they conserve "European cultural values" or pretend that cultural heritage is our future, but must be strictly evaluated according to the criteria listed above.

- The sectoral division should be abolished, as it represents a remainder of a 19th century approach to the arts. After a century of cross-disciplinary art production and presentation there cannot be a pre-division of artistic disciplines, neither in synchronic mode (having to categorise projects as performing arts, visual arts, literature or cultural heritage) nor in diachronic mode (with a yearly focus on these disciplines one after another): Instead of such an outdated separation of art forms, cross-sectoral approaches should be actively encouraged and supported.


II. Objective: Expanded Europe
multilateral cooperation in an expanded Europe and beyond

Supporting transnational multilateral cooperation means overcoming the bilateral logic that is deeply rooted in the minds and structures of established cultural institutions and government bodies, taking into account the complexity and specific requirements of multilateral projects, and overcoming the dichotomous logic of internal cultural action in Europe on the one hand and external cultural relations on the other.

Applying positive discrimination to projects from (pre-)accession countries

In the ongoing enlargement process there is a certain danger not only of excluding the non-EU-countries, but also of establishing a Europe of two classes within the EU. From the experience of recent years we have learned that cultural initiatives from accession countries did not submit a large proportion of applications, although they were already included in Culture 2000 from 2001 on. This fact correlates to the structures of the national cultural fields and economic imbalances in the different countries.
Clear measures have to be established in order to give priority to projects from (pre-) accession countries. This is not a matter of sensitivity, but of hard facts; there is not a need for limited incentives, but for a real positive discrimination that will encourage more participation on the part of organisations from (pre-)accession countries as well as facilitating an easier implementation of the projects through

- including a requirement of a minimum of one organisation from (pre-)accession countries in the project consortia of multiannual projects
- giving priority to projects with coordinators from (pre-)accession countries
- reducing the threshold (obligatory 5% financial participation) for organisations from (pre-) accession countries

Further measures (specific programme-level) for enhanced cooperation

- providing special budget lines for projects cooperating with neighbouring non-EU countries
- inviting cultural organisations from the non-EU Mediterranean countries to become associates in projects (also including their expenses in the budgets)
- developing new program schemes for worldwide cultural cooperation with clear profiles (s. I. Objective, not profiles of external policy or "promoting" Europe)


III. Objective: New Organisational Forms

In order to enhance cultural cooperation special emphasis should be put on projects that experiment with new modes and organisational forms in the cultural field: transversal projects, transsectoral projects that challenge the limits of the cultural field and projects building on collective practices.

In order to open the program for small-scale organisations, projects that enhance the building of transnational networks and consortia of smaller initiatives and organisations should be supported. A special budget should be set up to support 6-month pilot projects organising interregional networks among small initiatives that are then able to jointly apply for a project.

In order to strengthen the sustainability of cultural cooperation incentives and measures are to be taken for the development of sustainable networks through an understanding of different forms of networking as different phases of networks:
- existing sustainable European networks in the cultural field (regardless of where the are based): support on a multi-annual funding basis, linked to their submission of 3-years-plans
- project consortia with a tendency to become sustainable European networks: support on the basis of multi-annual funding schemes with the possibility of extension for a second project phase, which may subsequently be transformed into the first category
- temporary project consortia: the operators should be encouraged to make new project proposals with other partners after the successful completion of their projects (this requires the establishment of flexible, uncomplicated follow-up schemes for successfully implemented/completed projects and measures to keep consortia open and growing).


IV. Objective: Appropriate Administrative Preconditions

- faster decision making process
The current selection process is too complicated (12 steps of the selection procedure) and too long (six months and more). It must be simplified and advanced (target three months obligatory) by:
-parallel investigations on the administrative and financial quality of the applications by the Commission (including approval by the financial control services)
-immediate meetings and decisions on the quality of the projects by independent experts
-immediate contracting
The rather formal procedure that the management committee and the European Parliament accept the list of the selected projects (without being able to research the details) should be abolished.

- make decision making process transparent
through official information for the applicants about the different stages of the procedure and about the respective status in the selection process, so that applicants are able to closely follow each step in the procedure.

- two-phase selection procedure for multiannual projects
Draft project outlines should be pre-selected by independent experts. The pre-selected projects should be invited to concretise their proposals on the basis of 6-month-contracts with the commission, strengthen their partnerships and provide a detailed project description including budget. Then the final selection of multiannual projects (up to five years) would be made.

- simplify application
To enable a broader variety of projects to apply, the application forms for smaller projects (up to one year) should be simplified (esp. less financial details).

- include preparatory work in the project budget

- avoid the delays in payment

- 50/50 payment procedure (50% at the beginning of the project year, 50% after approval of the annual/final report) changed to 80/20%

- interest-free loans from a EU financing fund for selected projects in order to stop their cashflow problems


Editing: Aileen Derieg