EFA and festival leaders discuss joint agenda with European Commissioner Tibor Navracsics

27 January 2015

On 9 December 2014, the European Festivals Association invited festival leaders for a round table with EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Mr. Tibor Navracsics, led by Mr. Darko Brlek (EFA President) and Kathrin Deventer (Secretary General) in the presence of Ms. Adrienn Kiraly (Deputy Head of Mr. Navracsics’ Cabinet), Mr. Karel Bartak (Head of EAC. E. 2 Creative Europe Programme – Culture) and Ms. Corinne Rigaud (Programme Manager Culture Programme – EU Policies) to set the agenda of work between the European Commission and festivals in the field of arts and culture for the next 5 years.

Festival leaders included Mr. Airan Berg (Lecce 2019 Artistic Coordinator), Ms. Annet Lekkerkerker (Holland Festival Managing Director), Mr. Colm Croffy (AOIFE Association of Irish Festivals and Events Executive Director), Mr. Csaba Kaél (Budapest Spring and Autumn Festival Chief Executive Officer), Mr. Darko Brlek (EFA President | Ljubljana Festival General and Artistic Director | EHfC Member), Ms. Esther Meyer (Berliner Festspiele Assistant to the Artistic Director), Mr. Franco Calabretto (Mittelfest Artistic Director), Mr. Francesco Maria Perrotta (ItaliaFestival President), Ms. Hanna Styrmisdóttir (Reykjavík Arts Festival Artistic Director), Mr. Hendrik Storme (Festival van Vlaanderen Brussels – Klarafestival Artistic Director), Mr. Hugo De Greef (EFFE Europe for Festivals Festivals for Europe co-director| EHfC Member), Mr. Ibrahim Spahic (International Festival Winter Sarajevo Director | EHfC Member), Mr. Jan Briers (Governor East-Flanders), Mr. Jurriaan Cooiman (Culturescapes Director), Ms. Kristine De Mulder (Europalia Director-General), Mr. Massimo Mercelli (EFA Vice-President | Emilia Romagna Festival Artistic Director), Mr. Paul Dujardin (BOZAR Chief Executive Officer & Artistic Director), Mr. Serge Platel (Flanders Festival International / Gent General Director), Ms. Sona Hovhannisyan (Yerevan Perspectives International Music Festival General Manager), and Ms. Virginie Puff (Festival d’Automne à Paris Administrative and Financial Director).

Representing festivals from all over Europe we are ready to bring our diverse, rich, day-to-day experience to a joint agenda. A sensible and strong way to share values is to share creations with one another.

We agree with EU Commissioner Tibor Navraciscics on the importance of a wide range of issues, without which Europe cannot operate as a cultural space such as artistic development, freedom of expression, cultural diversity, access to culture.

All Festival Directors continue working for culture education for the 21st century, creation of the living and visual arts, cooperation between countries for productions and for the work with audiences, culture as a common base free of censorship, training, equal citizenship, intercultural dialogue, the free movement of artists, favourable tax regulations for international cooperation, European values and universal human rights.

The European Festivals Association is committed to undertake a regular dialogue in the next 5 years initiating and monitoring concrete action, including:

  • regular conversations with political representatives on the European, national and local levels with and beyond the cultural sector,
  • the EFFE - Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe Platform to be continued after its pilot phase reaching out to the most diverse festivals from local to national scales,
  • knowledge and know-how sharing and training through The Festival Academy and in the frame of the EU-China people-to-people dialogue co-initiating and funding training for cultural managers in China,
  • contributions to the process towards a European Resolution on Culture: supporting Culture as an Instrument for Values, Democracy, Citizenship and social inclusion. 

Together we are engaging to shape a cultural agenda for Europe with the input of artists and creators all over Europe in close dialogue with colleagues in the sector and the European Parliament (also through the A Soul for Europe Advisory Board).

We will intensify our contacts with Commissioners in the other fields of responsibility: particularly social affairs, citizenship, external affairs, digitisation, human rights, health, urban and regional development and, last but not least, the budget and economic affairs.

We look forward to the work outlined above but also to new initiatives that will be developed between us during the tenure of this Commission and the Parliament.

(Photo (c) European Union 2014)