Fair working conditions for people working in the arts sectors have been called for by the European Parliament. 

There is a need for a common European framework for working conditions in the cultural and creative sectors for the almost 8 million workers in the arts industry, according to MEPs. The European Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee has called for the creation of an EU-wide framework on working conditions and minimum standards for all artists in a report. 

Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune said this is particularly important for Ireland as we have such a strong arts sector. 

Last year the cultural and creative sector in the EU experienced losses in turnover of over 30% and a cumulative loss of €199 billion – with the music and performing arts sectors experiencing losses of 75% and 90% respectively.

MEP Clune said: “The aim of this report is to get fairer and better conditions for artists. The arts is a huge employer in Ireland and across the EU and artists rights must be protected. There are big differences between Member States in Europe regarding support, social benefits and definitions of an artist. We need to fix that. We are also calling for a fair distribution of income from digital platforms for artists and improved financing of the cultural and creative industries. The arts sector has been through an enormously challenging time and the EU must do all it can to help this sector recover.”

MEPs have called on member states and the Commission to remove all barriers to cross-border mobility and to do more on the recognition of arts-based education degrees. MEPs have also called for specific programmes for the mobility of young creators and innovators.

MEPs pointed out too that artists are exposed to unfair practices by dominant digital streaming platforms, such as buy-out clauses that deprive authors or their royalties. To remedy that, MEPs want the Commission and Member States to ensure artists and cultural workers have access to collective bargaining and to strongly enforce protection for works and their creators in national copyright legislation.

In a resolution adopted by 26 votes in favour, none against and 3 abstentions, the Culture and Education Committee calls on Commission to propose a “European Status of the Artist”, setting out a common framework for working conditions and minimum standards for all EU countries, while fully respecting member states’ competencies on their labour market and cultural policy. The resolution should be voted on by Parliament in October’s second plenary session.