On 7 February, 2016 European Union Member States celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty. The Treaty, signed on 7 February, 1992, represented a new stage in European integration. With the Treaty the European Union was created between twelve Member states.
Under the Maastricht Treaty, the Union became responsible for new fields such as: culture, education, public health, consumer protection. Thus, cultural policy was brought fully into the action scope of the EU only through the Treaty of Maastricht. Later, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that “the Union should contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States, while respecting their national and regional diversity and at the same time bringing the common cultural heritage to the fore”.
In this way, the Union is committed to promote European cultural heritage through numerous initiatives, in particular through the Creative Europe Framework Programme. The Creative Europe Programme, defined for the period 2014-2020 and managed by the European Commission, aims to strengthen the European cultural and creative sectors. It offers grants for projects aimed at preserving European cultural and linguistic diversity, as well as at enhancing the competitiveness of the cultural and creative sectors. The overall budget of the programme is 1,46 billion euro (9% more than the previous budgets). Currently 64 European funding programmes are available for culture and media.
The programme complements other European programmes. During the period 2014-2020 Member States are advised to focus ERDF assistance on supporting new cultural sectors that are closely linked to innovation, to use investments in the cultural heritage to support the creative industry clusters and to enhance synergies with other funds such as the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprise and SME (COSME), Horizon 2020, the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, the European Creative Industries Alliance etc.