Creative Europe, the new European cultural programme, is responding to the crisis with an increased budget and new initiatives

June 25, 2021

Hat: Considered as the poorest field of national and European policies, culture nevertheless benefits from an ambitious European budget for the period 2021-2027. First calls for proposals are already published.


Brussels will invest €2.4 billion to fund cultural projects and creation under Creative Europe programme, an increase of 36% of the budget compared to the past 2014-2020 programme. This is a way to address the crisis experienced in the sector since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To understand in a few lines what the programme can fund, Welcomeurope analysed the programme.


What sectors are covered by the programme?

The funding available under Creative Europe is divided into three distinct strands:

  • The Culture strand is dedicated to performing arts, publishing, music, design, fashion, architecture, audiovisual and heritage.
  • The Media strand, which accounts for the largest share of the overall budget, is dedicated to audiovisual, cinema and video games.
  • Finally, the cross-sectoral strand offers a broader framework and focuses on media, media literacy, press freedom and quality journalism.

How does the programme budget work?

€1.84 billion of the €2.4 billion budget is allocated to the 2021-2027 financial envelope. This envelope is complemented by an additional allocation of €600 million to support European cinema (co-production at film festivals and markets, distribution, exhibition).

The overall budget is split into the three strands : the Media strand receiving more than half of the funding with 58% of the envelope allocated to it. The Culture strand accounts for 33% of the budget, while the Trans-sectoral strand has only 9% of the budget.

For the 2021 launch year, 300 million euros are already dedicated to the new published calls for proposals.

What’s new?

The new programme includes new requirements: it appears as a greener, more digital and more inclusive programme in line with European priorities, such as the Green Deal and the EU’s environmental objectives. Moreover, the Media strand aims to encourage inclusion and active participation of people with disabilities, people from minorities, or socially marginalised people.

Project leaders will have to integrate these new requirements into the creation process. Gender equality is also a priority of the sub-programme, as it is a driver of economic growth, creativity and innovation. This includes supporting the work of women artists and their visibility in the media and artistic space.

A particular attention is given to strengthening the resilience and recovery of the cultural and creative sectors in the context of the health crisis as well.

Creative Europe emphasis on transnational creation, dissemination and promotion of European works globally, on innovation across sectors and easier access to funding through higher rates of European co-financing.

How to benefit from it?

Creative Europe funding takes the form of calls for proposals, published on the European Commission’s Funding & Tenders portal. Since 1 June, around twenty calls for projects have been published:

For the Culture sub-programme:

  • European networks of cultural and creative organisations (deadline 26 August 2021) ;
  • Small-scale European cooperation projects (deadline 7 September 2021);
  • Films in Motion (deadline 24 August 2021);
  • Pan-European Cultural Entities (deadline 26 August 2021);
  • European cooperation projects medium-scale (deadline 7 September 2021);
  • European platforms for the promotion of emerging artists (deadline 29 September 2021);
  • Circulation of European literary works (deadline 30 September 2021);
  • European cooperation projects Large-scale (deadline 7 September 2021)

For the Media sub-programme :

  • Markets and networking (deadline 24 August 2021) ;
  • Innovative tools and business models (deadline 24 August 2021) ;
  • European Cinema Networks (deadline 10 August 2021) ;
  • Talent and Skills (deadline 26 August 2021);
  • European VOD networks and operators (deadline 5 October 2021) ;
  • European Festivals (deadline 24 August 2021) ;
  • European Co-development (deadline 17 November 2021);
  • European slate development (deadline 25 August 2021);
  • Audience Development and Film Education (deadline 5 October 2021);
  • Development of a European mini-slate (deadline 12 August 2021);
  • TV and online content (deadline 25 August 2021)

For the cross-sectoral strand:

  • Innovation Lab (deadline 5 October 2021) ;
  • NEWS – Journalism Partnership (deadline 26 August 2021)

We invite you to check these calls for proposals on our website. All the reference documents (call for proposals documents, grant contract model, online guide and templates) are available on the Funding & Tenders website in the Reference Documents section of the portal.

Which structures are eligible?

In addition to the 27 Member States of the European Union, the list of countries associated with the programme was published on June 15th 2021. That list includes the countries of the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein), the candidate and potential candidate countries for EU membership (Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey), the Neighbourhood Policy countries (Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Tunisia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Algeria, Egypt, Israel and Jordan) and the Faroe Islands.

Eligible structures are legal entities (public or private) based in one of the participating countries of the programme. Associations and interest groups can participate as “sole beneficiaries” or “beneficiaries without legal personality”. International organisations are also eligible, and are not required to be based in a participating country.

While some calls for proposals require a single applicant (e.g. an independent European audiovisual production company – Media strand), others require the creation of a consortium of partners. In this case, separate legal entities come together and implement the project jointly. For example, a project could be run by several multimedia associations, an art gallery and a festival.

For more information about the projects carried out during the previous programming period, the European Commission’s list is available here.

How to structure your project?

The first step is to define the project’s scope (objectives, actions, location, timetable, budget). Once the scope has been defined, it must be matched with one of the programme’s funding measures, and with one of the three strands:

The Culture strand covers three types of actions: horizontal actions (cooperation projects, networks, platforms, mobility of artists and cultural professions, development policies), sectoral support (support to the music and publishing sector, support to cultural and architectural heritage etc.) and special actions (EU Culture Awards, European Cultural Capitals, European Heritage Label, support to promising young artists etc.). This strand focuses on the transnational circulation of works, the mobility of artists and innovation.

The Media strand is divided into four clusters: a Content cluster which aims to strengthen the collaborative and innovative dimension of the creation of works; a Business cluster focused on the competitiveness of the European cultural industry; an Audience cluster which aims to increase the accessibility of works to the public; and a Policy cluster focused on awareness-raising activities and exchanges related to cultural policies.

Finally, the Trans-sectoral strand targets three types of actions: transnational policy cooperation, Creative Innovation Labs (design of innovative tools applicable to creative sectors aiming at better competitiveness, data analysis for content creation and audience development) and actions targeting the media (media pluralism, quality journalism, media literacy, fight against misinformation etc.).

What types of funding are available?

The type of grant varies according to the call for proposals. It can be either a budgetary grant or a lump sum. The “budgetary” grant will reimburse the eligible costs and the costs actually incurred in the project. The “lump sum” grant, which means that the promoter will be reimbursed on an amount fixed by the Managing Authority on the basis of the estimated budget of the project.

Welcomeurope is at your disposal to assist you in all your procedures, good luck in your projects!

Url description: Portail Funding&Tenders