The European Ministers for Culture recently held an online informal council meeting on the Impact of COVID-19 on the cultural and creative sectors.
Addressing the council meeting, Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera stated that in these unprecedented times, the creative will of the cultural and creative sectors is prevailing with several artists resorting to several online initiatives including crowdfunding, live or recorded streaming, web conferencing and e-networking amongst others.
Minister Herrera remarked that notwithstanding this, the cultural and creative sectors like many others are still facing a period of uncertainty and insecurity resulting from the current situation. The Maltese Government is also supporting the vulnerable cultural and creative sectors through a number of national measures to alleviate the impact of COVID-19. The COVID Wage Supplement issued by the Government of Malta is a horizontal measure aimed to combat the impact of COVID-19, whereby a wage supplement of €800 monthly is being provided for employed and self-employed persons. This is proving to be a vital contribution to various persons coming from a large section of the cultural and creative sector.
Herrera also mentioned that through the Ministry for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government, the government is working closely with the Arts Council Malta to come up with various other initiatives such as increasing and maximising its channels of communication via online platforms and traditional methods to assist individuals, entities and organisations in every possible way; fast-tracking any pending payments from Arts Council Malta and all public cultural organisations; implementing various alternatives online to keep all networking, training and presentations happening on track; and also aiming to launch flexible measures as part of the long-standing Malta Arts Fund.
“Malta welcomes the work of the European Commission, particularly in the extension and flexibility of the call of the Creative Europe Programme,” stated Dr Herrera while also supporting the Commission’s intent for the InvestEU Programme to also include small and micro enterprises in the creative and cultural sectors. This is particularly important, as 95% of those working in this sector are small and micro-enterprises.
Also, importantly, Malta recognises that following the end of the pandemic, the cultural and creative sector could act as a catalyst for persons to actively participate in society: “Flexibility for EU funds related to culture is vital in rebuilding the cultural and creative sectors in the member states,” concluded Dr Herrera.
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