Cultural and creative sectors in post-COVID-19 Europe: Crisis effects and policy recommendations

Cultural and creative sectors in post-COVID-19 Europe: Crisis effects and policy recommendations

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe in spring 2020, unprecedented containment measures have been taken by EU Member States, severely limiting – or even halting - the organisation of physical activities, social life and international mobility. This has severely impacted the economic and social situation in the Cultural and Creative Sectors (CCS) in Europe. They are among the sectors most negatively affected by the COVID-19 crisis. 

In this study, commissioned by the European Parliament, IDEA Consult together with its partners Goethe-Institut and freelancers Sylvia Amann (Inforelais) and Joost Heinsius (Values of Culture&Creativity), analyses the effects of the crisis on eight different sub-sectors (performing arts, music, visual arts and crafts, cultural heritage, film, book publishing and press, radio and television, games and animation), as well as the policy responses that have been formulated in the first months of the crisis to support the sectors. The analysis is based on desk research, data analysis, interviews and focus group discussions.  

The study highlights that beyond the negative effects, the crisis also boosted experiment and innovation in the CCS. When normal activities were halted, many CCS workers and organisations explored alternative ways for doing business, either digitally or by making innovative use of public spaces and re-imagining audience participation and interaction. Thanks to their creative drive, many CCS organisations and professionals greatly contributed to the well-being of citizens and social cohesion during the crisis. The crisis has further illustrated the power of the CCS to be(come) a substantial partner in the EU’s commitment to implement the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. 

To build on the most forward-looking new approaches, and to further develop them into sustainable policies and practices, the study recommends that policy makers particularly take action related to three Flagship areas:  

  • a fair work system for the CCS in Europe and a decent earning for all CCS workers;  
  • establishment of a European digital framework that better fits the CCS’ DNA; and  
  • design policy frameworks that consider the CCS as an integral part of innovative and cohesive societies. 

In addition to the Flagship Initiatives, the study also recommends that policy makers address a number of transversal issues. These include among others, ecological sustainability, skills development, access to R&D and innovation systems, and a re-establishment of the EU freedom of movement and common market. 

The full study report can be found on


Picture: © Olympe Tits and PARTS