Artists including writer Nina George and singer Björk have called for the European Council to provide extra funding for Europe's cultural sector following the coronavirus crisis.
In an open letter supported by the Federation of European Publishers, EU leaders are warned that many venues closed by the coronavirus crisis may never open again.
Alongside George, who is president of the European Writers’ Council, the letter has been signed by writers including Nele Neuhaus, Nina Bouraoui, Olivier Guez, Sebastian Fitzek and Tim Etchells.
“European culture is in the midst of a crisis,” it warns. “How decision-makers choose to respond now will set the scene for the next decade of cultural and creative life in our union.”
The letter points out that, as Europe's third largest employer, the consequences of allowing the cultural sector to dwindle will be felt across the wider economy.
It says: “Despite strong messages from leaders of the European Union that our sectors would be firmly supported, the current proposals for a recovery plan and a European budget strangely fail to consider the needs of the cultural and creative sectors.
“As creators and professionals from the sector, we call on the EU leaders to be bold and to invest in culture and the arts, to invest in all our creative futures. We need a plan that revives our cultural ecosystem and inspires the next generation of Europeans.
“This means providing the financial resources at a level which will allow art, culture, cultural and creative enterprises, creators and creative workers to continue their work, to survive and thrive into the future.
“This is an opportunity for the EU to amply demonstrate that it can honour its values. The time is now for Europe to be ambitious and invest in its creative future.”
The letter has been submitted ahead of a physical meeting of EU leaders in Brussels on Friday to discuss a Covid-19 recovery plan and a new long-term EU budget.