Cultural industry can play bigger role for growth, say MEPs

Tax credits and reduced VAT rates for cultural products could help the industry contribute more to economic growth and job creation, according to a European Parliament report adopted yesterday (22 January).

But the issue of intellectual property rights proved contentious, with MEPs stressing that digital piracy must not be tackled by criminalising consumers who “do not intend to make profit out of their actions”. 

Fast-growing cultural industries are considered a key part of the EU’s Growth and Jobs strategy, employing over five million Europeans and accounting for 2.6% of the bloc’s GDP. The report, drafted by French Socialist MEP Guy Bono, stresses the importance of sufficient funding for the creative industries and encourages the development of a fiscal framework which favours the sector. 

Bono’s report urges the Commission to do more to strike a balance between access to cultural events and content and respect of intellectual property, particularly in developing solutions that are suitable for both large and small-scale actors. Moreover, it urges the EU executive to help raise awareness of digital rights among consumers. 

The report also asks the Commission to consider introducing a financial support programme for digital libraries, music, theatre and publishing. Such a fund could also be used to assist with the transnational distribution of content. Finally, it proposes setting up a new task force on culture and the creative economy. 

The own-initiative report, which is still to be approved in plenary, was adopted in Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee with substantial amendments. 

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