The European Commission has published a study entitled The Economy of Culture in Europe. In this study presented on November 13 to European ministers of culture, the European Commission highlights the importance of the culture sector for the European economy and demonstrates its job-creating potential. This study is a European first. It highlights the direct contribution (to GDP, growth, and employment) and indirect contribution (links between creativity and innovation, links with the ICT sector, regional development, and attractiveness) of the cultural and creative sectors to the Lisbon Agenda.
Specifically, the study shows that in 2003 the cultural sector represented 2.6% of the European Union’s GDP—a greater share than the chemical product, rubber, and plastics industry (2.3%). In addition, the cultural sector is thriving and its share in economic activity is growing: Between 1999 and 2003 its growth was 12.3% higher than European economic growth overall. The sector boasted 5.8 million workers in 2004—3.1% of the total labor force in the European Union and more than the labor force of Ireland and Greece combined.
In presenting this study, European commissioner for education, training, culture, and multilingualism Ján Figel’ stated, “This study helps break the conventional wisdom on the culture and creative sector. It confirms that the arts and culture are far from being marginal in terms of their economic contribution. Indeed, they are a major employer, and as a sector, culture and the arts contribute to innovation and the economic and social development of the EU, its regions and cities. The culture sector is the engine of creativity, and creativity is the basis for social and economic innovation. As such, I firmly believe that the EU’s arts and culture are a dynamic economic and social driver for achieving more growth, and more and better jobs.”