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Programme: Creative Europe 2021-2027

Creative Europe 2021-2027
Acronym CREA
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Creative Europe 2021-2027"

"Creative Europe" is the European Union's programme for the European cultural and creative sector for the period 2021-2027. The programme brings together actions supporting the European cultural and creative sectors, which means all sectors whose activities are based on cultural values and artistic and other individual or collective creative expressions, whether those activities are market - or non-market-oriented, whatever the type of structure that carries them out; and irrespective of how that structure is financed.

The activities include the development, the creation, the production, the dissemination and the preservation of goods and services which embody cultural, artistic or other creative expressions, as well as related functions such as education or management. Many of those have a potential to generate innovation and jobs in particular from intellectual property. The sectors include inter alia architecture, archives, libraries and museums, artistic crafts, audiovisual (including film, television, video games and multimedia), tangible and intangible cultural heritage, design (including fashion design), festivals, music, literature, performing arts, (including theatre and dance), books and publishing, radio, and visual arts.

The programme builds on and continues the structure of the previous one for the period 2014-2020. The general objectives of Creative Europe are:

  • to safeguard, develop and promote European cultural and linguistic diversity and heritage;
  • to increase the competitiveness and the economic potential of the cultural and creative sectors, in particular the audiovisual sector.

These goals are pursued through the following specific objectives:

  • enhancing artistic and cultural cooperation at the European level, in order to support the creation of European works and strengthen the economic, social and external dimensions of and innovation and mobility in Europe’s cultural and creative sectors (CULTURE strand);
  • promoting the competitiveness, scalability, cooperation, innovation, and sustainability, including through mobility in the European audiovisual sector (MEDIA strand); and
  • promoting policy cooperation and innovative actions supporting all strands of the Programme, promoting a diverse, independent and pluralistic media environment, and media literacy, thereby fostering freedom of artistic expression, intercultural dialogue and social inclusion (CROSS-SECTORAL strand).

The general and specific objectives of Creative Europe take into account the dual nature of the cultural and creative sectors, recognising, on the one hand, the intrinsic and artistic value of culture and, on the other, the economic value of those sectors, including their broader contribution to growth and competitiveness, creativity and innovation. The objectives are pursued in a way that encourages inclusion, equality, diversity and participation, including, where appropriate, specific incentives that encourage the active participation in the cultural and creative sectors of people with disabilities, people belonging to minorities and people belonging to socially marginalised groups, including both the creative process and audience development; and gender equality, in particular as a driver of economic growth, innovation and creativity.

Link Link to Programme
Thematic Focus Art & Culture, Cultural Heritage, History, Media, Equal Rights, Human Rights, People with Disabilities, Social Inclusion, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication, Community Integration, European Citizenship, Shared Services, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation
EU Macro-Regions
Adriatic and Ionian Region, Alpine Region, Baltic Sea Region, Danube Region
Funding area EU Member States
EFTA countries
Candidate Countries
Potential Candidate Countries
EU Neighbourhood Policy Countries
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
EFTA countries
Candidate Countries
Potential Candidate Countries
EU Neighbourhood Policy Countries
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Project Partner No
Eligible applicants Education and Training Centres, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association, Other
Applicant details

The following entities are eligible to participate in the Programme if they are active in cultural and creative sectors:

  • legal entities established in:
    • a EU Member State or an overseas country or territory linked to that Member State;
    • a third country associated to the Programme; or
    • a third country listed in the work programme;
  • legal entities created under Union law;
  • international organisations.

Legal entities active in the cultural and creative sectors established in a third country which is not associated to the Programme shall exceptionally be eligible to participate in the Programme where such participation is necessary for the achievement of the objectives of a given action.

Legal entities active in the cultural and creative sectors established in a third country which is not associated to the Programme shall in principle bear the cost of their participation. Where it is in the Union’s interest, additional contributions from the external financing instrumeents may cover the costs of the participation of such legal entities.

Contact Details The website of the  European Commission and the EExcutive Agency for Eduction, Audiovisual and Culture provides detailed infromation on the Creative Europe programme.

Subprogrammes of Creative Europe 2021-2027

Creative Europe - Culture Strand

In 2021, the CULTURE strand of Creative Europe will continue to be anchored to policy development and EU policy cooperation in the field of culture, notably in line with the objectives of the 2018 New European Agenda for Culture and the Council Work Plan for Culture 2019-2022. Policy cooperation will also cover emerging priorities and high-level initiatives such as the New European Bauhaus.

The Programme will mainstream through its actions the cross-cutting issues of inclusion and diversity, notably gender balance, and greening of Creative Europe.

In this context, the Programme intends to pursue the following priorities:

  • Resilience and recovery: in 2021, more than 80 million EUR will be allocated to support cooperation projects, circulation of Literary works, platforms and networks in the culture field. These actions are meant to be instruments to help the recovery and resilience of the cultural and creative sectors in light of the COVID-19 crisis. Through these actions, the Programme will support a wide range of projects and initiatives to help cultural operators, artists and workers in the culture field get out from the crisis, with creative ideas and together with partners from all over Europe.
  • Innovation and joint creations: innovation, in a broad sense, is necessary for the evolution of the cultural and creative sectors and their competiveness. Innovations can be of technological and artistic nature; they may include the joint creation and production of innovative European works and their dissemination to a wide and diverse audience. Innovations also include the development and experimentation of new practices or models, as well as the transfer and dissemination of innovative practices from more advanced European regions or sectors to other regions in Europe or disciplines. Areas of innovation can encompass a social or societal dimension such as audience engagement/development, gender equality or the inclusion of people with disabilities, people belonging to minorities and people belonging to socially marginalised groups, fighting climate change, digitisation, etc.;
  • Cooperation and exchanges of practices: the Programme will give organisations of all sizes the possibility to cooperate and learn at cross-border level. The cooperation between organisations active in cultural and creative sectors will contribute to: building the capacities of the organisations involved; giving rise to many artistic creations; helping the circulation and dissemination of artists and works; increasing the initiatives that allow more people to participate in cultural activities and projects;
  • Capacity-building of artists: the Programme will help European artists and cultural and creative professionals move up to the European level by supporting (emerging) talents, skills development, innovation and the transnational creation and circulation of European works. Creative Europe will support platforms which increase the visibility and the circulation of European emerging artists and works in Europe and beyond. It will also support actions that promote the circulation of European literary works, thus allowing groupings of publishers and/or other partners from the book sector (booksellers, libraries, etc.) to foster cooperation between publishers and their partners and bring more impact on the local and national book ecosystem;
  • Key players and multipliers: the Programme will invest in activities that encourage the scaling up of Europe’s cultural and creative sectors at European and global levels, for instance by supporting their international presence, marketing and branding. It will support Europe-wide or international networks of organisations and individual artists that help developing creative capacities of artists and industry professionals; collect and disseminate data, information, practices, ideas and solutions; provide training and advices to professionals; represent the sectors at national and European level and advocate on their behalf on key sectoral issues.

From an operational point of view, the Programme will reinforce its sectoral approach: this is a new feature of the CULTURE strand of the Programme. Through this new approach, it will be possible to define more targeted annual sector-specific priorities for music, publishing, cultural heritage and architecture.

Furthermore, the Programme will continue the cooperation with international organisations active in the field of culture that bring added value to the achievement of the Programme's objectives, bringing in competence in specific areas to maximize the impact of the Programme's action.

Special actions

In 2021, the CULTURE strand of Creative Europe will continue to support the organisation of four yearly European prizes in the areas of music, literature, architecture and cultural heritage. The winners of the prizes will be from countries participating to the Creative Europe Programme.

European Capitals of Culture remain a flagship EU action with a positive effect on local economies and societies. Building on the exceptional cultural richness and great diversity of Europe and its cities and regions, this action aims in particular at increasing citizens' sense of belonging to a common cultural area and at fostering the contribution of culture to the long-term development of cities.

The European Heritage Label remains one of the most valuable EU initiatives to strengthen the European citizens’ sense of belonging to the Union, the focus on the European dimension of cultural heritage sites and the common values they represent being a distinctive feature of the action.

In 2021, the Programme foresees to initiate a special action supporting European cultural entities such as orchestras that aim at training and promoting young, high potential artists and have an inclusive approach with a large geographical coverage. This support shall complement horizontal and sectorial actions in particular in favour of entities whose specific added value lies in the special selection process of such artists and the encompassing training and performance opportunities offered to them.

Open Calls

Creative Europe - Media Strand 2021

MEDIA actions will reflect the Commission’s structured approach to fundamental societal challenges, which are relevant across our range of support, of the green transition as well as of ensuring diversity and inclusion. Equally, all actions must demonstrate European added value.

The audiovisual sector has been severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis. News publishing saw its advertising revenues drop between 30% and 80% and TV by 20%. European media SMEs face severe liquidity issues, while unemployment has increased, and many creative professionals – particularly those subject to precarious employment conditions or freelancers – have found themselves with no income. Cinemas suffered a collapse in revenues, whilst shooting of new films, programmes and TV series has been in many cases halted. Yet, there are also some winners and these are mainly the global online players, all of which are non- European. The increase in profits of the large data and distribution companies aggravates the global competitive position of the European cultural and creative sector.

In this context the MEDIA strand will contribute to the implementation of the Media and Audiovisual Action Plan (MAAP). It will support short term recovery efforts through a dedicated search tool for media companies on relevant EU funding opportunities, contribute to the launch of the MediaInvest equity investment platform and support collaborative news media partnerships. MEDIA will also support longer term transformation through fostering a European Virtual and Augmented Reality industrial coalition and will facilitate a dialogue with the industry on the objective of climate neutrality by 2050. Finally, MEDIA will help enable citizens and companies by fostering European media talents including by promoting diversity before and behind the camera, and by scouting and supporting media start-ups; strengthening media literacy actions and policy and raising awareness of young audiences about European content; facilitating strengthened cooperation among regulators within the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) to ensure the proper functioning of the EU media market.

The audiovisual industry has already taken some encouraging steps towards greening their practices and the strand  MEDIA will contribute to a climate-neutral audiovisual sector, as envisaged by the MAAP. As of 2021 a policy dialogue on greening will be launched. The Commission will set up a structured cooperation Forum with the industry and (sub)national film and audiovisual funds with the objective of sharing existing best practices, and agreeing on common tools and standards on “green media” applicable to all Member States, including a common carbon calculator. A best practice guide for green production will be prepared with the aim in the medium term to create a ‘green label’ for productions and specific indicators of success.

In parallel, the MEDIA support actions will introduce financial incentives for green practices. Beneficiaries will be required to present greening strategies, air travel will be reduced and greening costs will be funded. Also, the Training & Skills and the Innovative Tools Actions will provide direct support, respectively to strengthen skills on greening strategies and to develop tools for greening measures.

MEDIA schemes will aim at promoting diversity and inclusiveness at all stages of the value chain of the media and the audiovisual sectors. In line with best practices established by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC), the following instruments provisions will be embedded in the support actions:

  • require the applicants to provide a strategy as regards the project or their management practices and describe how they aim to introduce diversity, inclusion and equality,
  • Introduce award criteria to evaluate their strategy.

Furthermore, pro-active measures will be taken, notably dedicated mentoring programmes, studies, training and networking activities and a structured dialogue with news media and audiovisual stakeholders will be pursued. Women are actively engaged in cultural and creative sectors as authors, professionals, teachers, artists and audience. Gender equality is a driver of creativity, economic growth and innovation. The Programme shall promote female talents to develop their skills as well as promoting women participation in the audiovisual sector through the advocacy campaign foreseen in the MAAP.

Creative Europe - Cross-Cuting Strand 2021

In line with the objectives of the Programme, the CROSS-SECTORAL strand shall have the following priorities:

  • to support cross-sectoral transnational policy cooperation including on promoting the role of culture for social inclusion and on artistic freedom and promote the visibility of the Programme and support the transferability of results;
  • to encourage innovative approaches to content creation, access, distribution, and promotion across cultural and creative sectors and with other sectors, including by taking into account the digital transition, covering both market and non-market dimensions;
  • to promote cross-sectoral activities aiming at adjusting to the structural and technological changes faced by the media sector, including enhancing a free, diverse, and pluralistic media environment, quality journalism and media literacy, including in the digital environment;
  • to support the establishment and activities of Programme Desks in participating countries and to stimulate cross-border cooperation and the exchange of best practices within the cultural and creative sectors.


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