Diversity united? Towards a European cultural industries policyDiversity united? Towards a European cultural industries policy
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Policy studies / Policy Studies Institute [London] - London
28(2007):3, p. 209-224
University of Antwerp
Against the backdrop of the Lisbon targets of economic growth and cohesion, cultural industries are high on the European Unions (EU) policy agenda. To unleash the Lisbon potential of the cultural industries, the establishment of a customized European cultural industries policy is required. It will be difficult to develop such an overarching policy, which must accommodate both profit and non-profit organizations in different cultural sectors that were until recently covered by the member states cultural policies or that had evolved in the context of the common market. The cultural industries intertwined cultural and economic interests, absence of an accepted common description and the many general and sectoral EU rules that are applicable result in conflicting viewpoints that set the different EU institutions and their departments at odds with one another. Through in-depth policy analysis, this article provides a framework from which to initiate debate on the creation of a European cultural industries policy. It contains an overview of the status quo on the cultural industries (the debate, the definition and the regulations applicable) and an assessment of the situation (the contradictions). Forecasts are then drawn for possible future tendencies of an EU policy for cultural industries. Finally, it will be argued that the scope and hierarchy of the rules and agreements in force will be decisive for the EUs approach towards the cultural industries. The article concludes by arguing that despite the EUs rhetoric about cultural diversity, in the light of negotations within the World Trade Organization (WTO), a European cultural industries policy will be predominantly an employment policy instead of a cultural policy. It is primarily driven by economic growth and cohesion, making national cultural policy considerations subordinate to common-market objectives.