European Union

Culture in the European Union

Culture in the European Union

The EU works to preserve Europe's shared cultural heritage and help make it accessible to all. It also supports and promotes the arts and creative industries in Europe.

Support for the arts and creative industries takes the form of:


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

The following EU policies have links with culture:

Under regional policy, for example, the EU supports music schools, concert halls and recording studios and funds the restoration of historic theatres (e.g. the Teatro del Liceu, Barcelona, and the Fenice, Venice).

Creative Europe programme

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

Arts prizes in the European Union

The EU supports prizes for cultural heritage, architecture, literature and music which highlight Europe's artistic achievements.

European capitals of culture

Each year, 2 cities are picked as European capitals of culture.

This enables them to:


  • celebrate their European identity
  • step up cooperation with arts organisations at home & abroad
  • boost local arts further.

Their special status brings proven long-term benefits, both social and cultural.


Updated in November 2014

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

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