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The open letter initiated by REMA received official responses

The official responses from Barbara Gessler + Polish Minister Urszula Ślązak to the REMA open letter listed various budgetary measures taken by the respective authorities.

  • letter (Stockfoto von Pexels) | Copyright: © John-Mark Smith

    letter (Stockfoto von Pexels) © John-Mark Smith

On 28 April 2020, REMA – European Early Music Network sent out an open letter to members of the European Commission to specifically address the many problems the cultural sector is facing in times of COVID-19. Many other European cultural institutions – like the IMZ – signed said letter to show solidarity.

Barbara Gessler (Head of Unit Creative Europe – European Commission & Directorate General – Education and Culture) expressed her sympathy to the cultural + creative sectors (specifically the live performance sector). She pointed to measures the European Commission has taken in that regard. The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and its new set of measures (CRII+) were adopted to mobilise available reserves in the European Structural and Investments Funds to fight the crisis immediately. Member States can choose their priority investments related to tackling the COVID-19 outbreak, which can include support for small to medium-sized enterprises or short-term employment schemes.

The Commission also launched a new instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE). Loans to the Member States can be mobilised, in support of short-time work schemes and similar measures. It will help to protect employees and self-employed against the risk of unemployment and loss of income.

Two platforms were set up to help share solutions concerning the impact of the COVID crisis: One platform for EU Member States, allowing culture ministries to exchange good practice, and a second platform called Creatives Unite. The latter offers a common space for all cultural and creative sectors to share their initiatives and co-create solutions in response to the crisis.

In addition, several measures were taken under the Creative Europe programme, and Gessler further announced a new Creative Europe support scheme for the physical and online distribution of performing arts works, mentioned the Music Moves Europe initiative and the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility (CCS GF).

Urszula Ślązak (Director of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland) also thanked REMA for their commitment to take action in form of the open letter. She mentioned various measures the Polish Ministry of Culture and Heritage has already taken to support the cultural sector, like the Anti-Crisis Shield, Social assistance for artists, and a special grant programme “Culture on-line” (Polish: “Kultura w sieci”).

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