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Accueil  >  Commissions  >  Europe  >  textes en Anglais  >  Letter to the Elected Representatives of the European Parliament

Letter to the Elected Representatives of the European Parliament

Publié, le samedi 6 septembre 2003 | Imprimer Imprimer |
Dernière modification : samedi 6 septembre 2003

Madame, Sir,

As you may know, we are united against the new agreement, signed on June 27 2003, regulating the unemployment benefits of freelance workers in the fields of performing arts and audio-visual. We ask you today to take a stand regarding this situation which goes far beyond France’s sole internal policy. This attack on one of Europe’s rare examples of unemployment benefits taking into account discontinued work periods reveals a true threat not only to European culture, but also to social rights in general.

Since 1969, this system has guaranteed the professionals of our sector a salary-based status despite the flexible work periods. Because it is non-discretional, this status favours research and innovation, exchanges and circulation of know-hows. Because it is based on the solidarity between professional branches, it is seen by French society as a freely consented investment. It has favoured the elaboration of a large variety of intellectual and artistic productions which benefit to the citizens and to democracy altogether. This production of « immaterial » wealth generates also market profits inside and outside France.

This social status, along with quotas and subsidies, is part of a vast system of state guarantees that cover creation, research and education in the art field. Beyond this keen conflict in France, we are preoccupied by the systematic cuts in subsidies dedicated to culture in Europe and by the progressive disengagement of European States in the arts and culture. These generally go in parallel with an accelerated questioning of social rights. Weakening the most unique and creative component of our work only accelerates the institutional or mercantile standardization of productions which is already engaged through the partial liberalization of our sectors.

As the WTO negotiations scheduled in Cancun approach, this progressive liberalization may now take a dramatic step by giving away the concept of culture as a public mission to the industries of leisure and tourism.

More generally in the field of social rights, we notice that a conceptual and semantic shift is under way, which tends to align all human activities on a mercantile basis that only considers profit making. This conceptual shift prepares and follows the specific reduction of mankind to a simple production-consumption unit.

It is now time we centre the democratic debate and European construction on the fundamental values which historically have forged this continent’s identity and that best portray its wealth : cultural diversity.

Guaranteeing a long term protection and promotion of essential services such as culture, education, research or health is a critical action for the future of Europe and of the world. For that matter, the protection of bio-diversity as well as the banning of patents on living organisms is also part of the identity and the diversity of the continent.

We beleive the institutional resistances set up today in Europe against this mercantile globalization are insufficient and that the offering of counter-models (including in their trade aspects) is an urgent issue.

This is why we ask you :

- To commission a report on the welfare systems and state guarantees in the arts and culture in order to protect creations and creators in an enlarged Europe.
- To commission a comparative evaluation of the social costs resulting in the tenuous situations of workers and the actual cost of a welfare system for all workers.
- To act in consequence in connection to the future European Constitution : we insist on placing all the articles of the Charter of Social Rights, approved by the European Parliament in 1996, in the first articles of the new Constitution.
- The safeguard of all regulations which protect the fields of arts and culture and the preservation in the future constitution of the unanimity vote. The clarification of the concept of « cultural diversity » (which should be extended to all fields of intellectual and artistic creation), including bio-diversity.
- The exclusion of public services, art, culture and environment from any WTO negotiation.
- The reconsideration of the European Commissioner Pascal Lamy’s mandate and the suspension of all negotiations within the WTO as long as the demands and offers have not been put to a democratic debate.
- We finally ask you to welcome a delegation of our Coordination

Yours sincerely,



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