Culture knows no borders. In this respect, the European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (ECCD) would like to remind us all that the UK cultural sectors will remain part of the wider European cultural ecology despite Brexit.
Even after Brexit and since the UK has ratified the UNESCO-Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the ECCD expects all responsible authorities to continue their efforts to ensure the implementation of the Convention and thus promote the diversity of cultural expressions.
Within the framework of the future relationship between the EU and the UK, the ECCD would like to share a few guiding principles that will be essential for the protection of cultural diversity.
The trade agreement and other agreements that will govern this future relationship should provide measures that are consistent with the EU standards that aim to protect and promote cultural diversity. It includes the exclusion of the audiovisual and cultural sector from the scope of trade agreements and a high level of protection of copyright, including artists’ and authors’ rights in accordance with the recently adopted 2019 Directive on copyright in the digital single market.
Indeed, all EU cultural stakeholders, including from the UK, have fought hard for the adoption of the 2019 Copyright Directive, as this text provides a more level playing field for the benefit of medium and small EU cultural enterprises and should lead to better remuneration for creators in the digital world. Therefore, the standards and provisions of the Directive need to be reflected in the future agreement.
In addition, any inclusion of audiovisual and cultural goods and services in the scope of the trade agreement will be detrimental for the promotion and protection of EU cultural diversity. The ECCD fears that the opening of trade for audiovisual and cultural services will undermine the capacity of the EU to freely regulate the sector, will indirectly advantage non-European works and will create a precedent that other third countries will want to exploit.
Therefore, the ECCD asks the European Commission and the Member States when giving their mandate to remain consistent and explicitly exclude cultural and audiovisual services from the scope of application.
The ECCD hopes also that the future relationship will not undermine the capacity of EU and UK cultural professionals and creators to work and move freely across borders in the UK and the EU and that overall the standards regarding competition, taxes and other rules applying to the sector will be preserved in order for EU cultural diversity to evolve in a fair and harmonised environment.
“The UK is an integral part of Europe’s culture and heritage. There has been huge mutual benefit for both the UK and EU countries of Britain’s membership of the EU. The UK should stay members of the Creative Europe programme which has funded so many invaluable creative partnerships and activities between UK and EU citizens and organisations. For the protection and development of ambitious European cultural policies and UK creative industries and creators to thrive in all cultural sectors, there should be as frictionless trade and free movement as possible after Brexit.” said Carole Tongue, Chair of the European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity and Chair of the UK Coalition for Cultural Diversity
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