A coalition of 20,000 European live event industry associations is demanding that the European Parliament offers grants equivalent to 75 per cent of companies’ fixed costs as part of “urgent measures” to support the hard hit sector.
The #WeAreLive organisation, which includes members from across Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Croatia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Russia, has filed a petition calling for unified action from EU officials.
The group is also calling for the adaptation of current loan programmes, claiming that current credit schemes will “drive companies into massive over-indebtedness and deprive them of any possibility to invest.”
The petition reads: “Due to the extended duration of the ban on events, the liquidity requirement is so large that banks are not willing to take on the necessary commitments, as the time for the return to health of the business model is uncertain.”
In addition, #WeAreLive is demanding the suspension of the EU aid framework for the COVID-19 crisis phase in the events industry, claiming that the limitation prescribed “prevents real help for hard-hit industry companies.”
However, the organisation lists the “most important demand” as EU officials engaging in a “rescue dialogue” with the industry. It states: “Unfortunately, local governments have so far either not taken up our offers of talks or have done so insufficiently. We need to find a way to express that value and the true importance of our industry in political terms, not just economical terms.
“We have repeatedly pressed for talks to be started within the framework of an industry dialogue, to discuss the dramatic situation of the event industry in Europe and together with local governments to find solutions and ways to prevent the mass deaths of companies and the loss of millions of jobs as well as the preservation of thousands of training contracts.”
In addition, the petition urges that events are dealt with as an industry in its own right, rather than being bundled in with culture, tourism or foreign affairs. “This disunity condemns us to the lack of common solutions, help and strategies for the development of the industry at an European level,” it reads.
Dolors Montserrat, chair of the EU’s committee, has already confirmed the #WeAreLive petition is “admissible” and will be considered by the European Commission on a preliminary basis. However, it needs 200,000 signatures by EU citizens to ensure it is accepted by and debated in the European Parliament.