Culture in the European Elections 2024 campaigns

© Rob Wilkinson / Alamy Stock Foto Numerous European flags waving in the wind are photographed from frog persective.

© Rob Wilkinson / Alamy Stock Foto

In the lead-up to the European elections, scheduled for 6-9 June 2024, IETM has summarised the parties’ positions on culture based on their election manifestos. In the elections, eligible EU citizens will get to elect their representatives to the European Parliament.

EU decisions do not only have a general impact of cultural budgets but may also have an impact on the green deal, which could affect museums’ infrastructure and operations. EU ruling also guides future digital support and copyrights legislation, which are of special interest now with the rapid rise of AI. Even the use of chemicals in restoration is subject to EU ruling.

NEMO encourages every eligible voter to use their vote to be part of shaping the future of European democracy, culture and every person living in the European Union and beyond.

In the last weeks, the European parties have shared their election manifestos and IETM (International network for contemporary performing arts) noted in their analysis an increase in attention given to culture compared to previous years. In the 2024 manifestos, culture, arts, and creativity are highlighted in diverse ways, emphasising creative industries, shared identities, cultural diversity, and artistic freedom.

The parties’ positions on culture

Below follows a short overview of the main parties’ take on culture and links to further information. A notable focus across several of the manifestos compared to previous elections, is the mention of improving artists' working conditions, with proposals such as the 'European Artist Status' by the European Green Party, and 'Statute for Artists' by the European Democratic Party. 

Preserving Europe's cultural diversity and ensuring access to culture emerge as common priorities across the political spectrum, closely linked with notions of heritage, identity, and values. Access to culture is also underscored, with some parties advocating for cultural rights, particularly for linguistic minorities, children, and the elderly.  

Proposals for increased funding are put forward by the European Left and the European Democratic Party, with each suggesting an allocation of 2% of the EU’s GDP. 

The European Green Party 

Recognises culture's unique role in envisioning solutions and driving transformation, advocating for experimentation, artistic freedom, and integrating culture into their Green and Social Deal. They highlight the promotion of culture’s contribution to mental health and see cultural heritage and the arts as essential backbones of European unity. Read the manifesto here.  

The European People’s Party (EPP)  

Places particular emphasis on cultural heritage, which they view as foundational to the European integration process. The EPP aims to establish a Digital Museum of European Culture, which would digitally connect the ‘most important museums’. They also mention the creation of a European Cultural Heritage Fund, recognising culture as essential to the 'European way of life' and a potential driver for tourism. Read the EPP manifesto here

The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR)  

Expresses concerns about a 'globalist agenda' and stress the importance of preserving national sovereignty when it comes to cultural and historical identities. Their document ‘Benedictine Vision: A Charter for Conservative Values’ discusses values extensively, but does not propose specific plans for cultural policies. Read ECR’s vision here

The European Democratic Party  

Highlights the intersection of culture and AI, promoting 'cultural wealth' and artistic initiatives for overall prosperity. They are the only party referring to ‘creative economy’. Read their manifesto here.  

The European Left  

Advocates for integrating a feminist perspective into EU policies, including culture. Emphasises the creative capacities of the working classes in addressing ecological and social crises. Read the manifesto here

The Party of European Socialists  

Does not have an extensive chapter on culture but underscores the right to culture as fundamental to democracy, embracing Europe's cultural diversity across cities, rural areas, and remote regions. Read the manifest here.