MEPs propose a new directive and platform to improve working and living conditions
Cultural and creative sectors lack decent work, pay standards and social protection
Differences in member state laws create unfair situation
On Tuesday MEPs adopted a proposal for an EU framework to improve the living and working conditions for cultural and creative workers.
In a draft legislative initiative, adopted by 43 votes to five and three abstentions, MEPs highlight the precarious working conditions and uncertain legal status for artists and other professionals in the cultural and creative sectors (CCS) in several European countries, and request legislative tools to address the issue.
MEPs say the work of CCS professionals is often characterised by high cross-border mobility, while at the same time there is no easy portability of their social security entitlements.. They also stress that the gaps between national social systems, national definitions of artists and other rules create unfair conditions.
The legislative initiative
The report calls for the creation of a legal EU framework to improve the social and professional conditions in the CCS. This framework would include:
- a directive on decent working conditions for CCS professionals and the correct determination of their employment status;
- a European platform to improve the exchange of best practice and mutual understanding among member states to improve working and social security conditions with the involvement of social partners;
- adapting EU programmes that fund artists, such as Creative Europe, to include social conditionality to contribute to the compliance with EU, national or collective labour and social obligations.
“The level of precariousness in the sector has been dire for years, but the COVID-19 crisis has shown that the situation for CCS professionals is simply unsustainable. It is our responsibility to give meaningful solutions to professionals that endure a lot, yet they give us everything, a sector that we must nurture, because without culture, our union lacks a soul,” said the co-rapporteur of the Culture and Education Committee Domenec Ruiz Devesa (S&D, ES).
“I have worked as an artist for years and I am very aware of the challenges and benefits that brings with it. The cultural and creative sectors are crucial for creating European solidarity and identity, and we need to invest in new European competitions to bring EU culture closer to its citizens. Money for cultural and creative work is an investment, not a cost," co-rapporteur of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee Antonius Manders (EPP, NL) said.
The Parliament will vote on this legislative initiative in November plenary session in Strasbourg. The Commission will then have three months to reply by either informing the EP on steps it plans to take or giving reasons for any refusal to propose a legislative initiative along the lines of EP’s request.
The European Parliament has been calling for the creation of a common definition and minimum social standards for artists and cultural workers since 2021. Under the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament has a right of legislative initiative that allows it to ask the Commission to submit a proposal.
Atypical working patterns and irregular income in CCS lead to problems such as weak social protection, lack of decent working conditions and fewer possibilities for social bargaining that leaves cultural and creative sector professionals vulnerable to abusive subcontracting, bogus self-employment, underpaid or unpaid work and coercive buy-out contracts. New digital technologies, such as generative AI, also create challenges for CCS professionals.