High-profile cultural figures have urged European governments to “be bold” and to invest in culture and the arts ahead of a major European Union meeting in Brussels tomorrow (Friday).

In a letter, signed by 45 individuals including theatre directors, musicians and dancers, among others, the group highlights the “crisis” the sector is facing across Europe due to COVID-19.

It warns that many venues, including theatres, museums, music halls and cinemas, may not reopen after being closed since mid-March.

“Cultural and creative sectors are Europe’s third largest employer,” it reads. “Meaning the economic consequences of a stagnant sector have reached far beyond the realm of culture. But, despite such a diminished cultural landscape, it is to culture that we have all turned during this time of great personal and societal adversity.”

The cultural leaders state that the current proposals for a recovery plan and a European budget “strangely fail to consider the needs of the cultural and creative sectors.”

It continued: “As creators and professionals from the sector, we call on the EU leaders to be bold and to invest in culture and the arts, to invest in all our creative futures.

“We need a plan that revives our cultural ecosystem and inspires the next generation of Europeans. This means providing the financial resources at a level which will allow art, culture, cultural and creative enterprises, creators and creative workers to continue their work, to survive and thrive into the future.”

The signatories include musicians Aga Zaryan, Benny Andersson, Björk, Evelyn Glennie, Jean-Michel Jarre, Maryla Rodowicz and MØ.

European Council President Charles Michel presented his proposal for the long-term EU budget and the recovery package earlier this month, which will serve as a basis for the leaders’ discussions at the Special European Council on July 17-18.

Image: David Joyce / (CC BY-SA 2.0)