World News: European Culture Institution’s Near Bankrupt

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The health imperatives presented as necessary by the Government have pushed the latter to prolong the closure of cultural spaces. And the decision to question the future of a fragile sector and its public funding.

Considered by many to be unjust and incomprehensible, especially by the main stakeholders, the prolonged closure of places of culture (Cinema, theater, museums, castles, etc.) highlights the lack of interest shown by the Government in the cultural sector and could also, more serious again, to get the public authorities to rethink its financing.

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Presented as secondary by the Government, the cultural sector is not necessarily so. As the role of culture no longer needs to be demonstrated with regard to its social and educational function, it is therefore natural that professionals, actors, theater directors, technicians and other museum curators are surprised and rise up against the decision taken by the Prime Minister.

In an aggressive five-year term, marked by an asserted and assumed liberalism, culture, the poor relation of Macronian politics (a reality all the more surprising in view of the career of the President of the Republic), was returned to the rank of a subordinate function while 'on the contrary, in these troubled times, it could have been, and serves, as a social link.

Miraculous and Discovery

But dura lex, sed lex, culture will wait until the pandemic is less virulent and less active on the national territory. And while some vilify the position of a government that is deaf to the demands expressed by the sector, there is also the relationship that the French will maintain with culture and, even more, the State, one of its main funders.

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It now appears almost certain that certain cultural spaces (theater, cinema, etc.) will not recover from the effects of these constantly extended closures and that those who survive will be miraculous. But let's come back to this very special relationship that the French have with culture, which often refers to their history, hence the attachment they nurture towards it.

However, as attached as they may be, they may eventually turn away from cultural places, tired of finding closed doors. And the risk of weakening an exposed sector even more, far from appearing as a priority, turns out to be higher every day. Without mentioning the risk of seeing the link that still exists, but for how long, between the French and the cultural sector frayed?

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Culture, this other school without duty or teacher, would perish for lack of spectators hampered in their approach marked by curiosity and discovery. And what about the economic impact of the sector, which amounts to 2.4% of GDP, or 47 billion euros, which would in fact be reduced.

European Average and Sacrifice

And the question of funding and subsidization to emerge ... Because France, whose global influence, is also ensured by the liveliness and creativity of its cultural sector, is not necessarily the most generous in in terms of segment financing, since it is located in the European average, i.e. 1.1% of GDP (Hungary, Estonia and Latvia come first), France spending 1.4% of GDP in 2018, without noting increase for several years.

Political choice which dates back to the seven-year term of Charles de Gaulle and more particularly of his Minister of Culture, André Malraux, for whom theaters, cinemas, museums, exhibitions, songs and others forged, work for at the very least, to identity and the affirmation of the nation after the war.

However, the pandemic seems to have reshuffled the cards of economic priorities, an upheaval which could also push the State to rethink in the years to come the cultural offer in France, therefore sacrificed on the altar of health and financial necessity. The risk exists and occurs for professionals in the increasingly significant sector.

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Deliberate will or real obligation linked to financial and health imperatives? The question remains unresolved but requires the players in the segment to question their future. And there is an emergency…!


Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.



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