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Culture in the European Union

The EU seeks to preserve Europe's shared cultural heritage and help make it accessible to others, as well as supporting and promoting the arts and creative industries in Europe.

Violinist © Rossen Donev - Varna Summer Music Festival

A violinist at Varna's international music festival, Bulgaria.

The EU supports the arts and creative industries through:

  • programmes to help them make the most of the EU market & digital technologies
  • funding
  • help with research projects
  • support for cooperation with EU & non-EU partners.

Many EU policies are linked to culture:

Under its regional policy, for example, the EU helps pay for music schools, concert halls and recording studios. It has also funded the restoration of historic theatres, such as the Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona and the Fenice in Venice.
Woman restoring monument © Van Parys Media

The EU helps restore Europe's cultural heritage.

Creative Europe programme

Creative Europe helps European cinema and the arts and creative sectors contribute more to jobs and growth, building on the successful MEDIA, MEDIA Mundus and Culture programmes.

With a €1.46 bn budget for 2014-2020, Creative Europe

  • safeguards and promotes Europe's cultural and linguistic diversity and its cultural richness
  • contributes to the EU's goal of smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth
  • helps the arts and creative sectors adapt to the digital age and globalisation
  • opens up new international opportunities, markets and audiences
  • promotes economic development.

Arts prizes in the European Union

The EU supports prizes in the areas of cultural heritage, architecture, literature and music, thereby highlighting the quality and success of Europe's artistic achievements.

European capitals of culture

Every year, 2 cities are chosen as European capitals of culture.

The title gives them a unique opportunity to celebrate their European identity, step up cooperation with cultural organisations in their own country and abroad, and further revitalise the local arts scene.

Being a capital of culture brings proven long-term benefits, social as well as cultural.


Culture and audiovisual

Updated in November 2014

This publication is part of the 'European Union explained' series



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