The Art of Survival – Article by AKEL MEP Giorgos Georgiou
22nd April 2020
In this time of crisis and enforced isolation, the role of art and culture is becoming more vital in our lives.
In times of great challenges and dangers, such as those we are going through today, one of the most important roles of a genuine civilization is to record the history of people as it unfolds.
At the same time, it is the duty of artists in culture developing cultural values to attribute to our times all the pulsation, character and its most representative manifestations, speaking the language of truth, humanity, social sensitivity and expressing concern for the life that people should have.
The public health measures that were imposed to slow down the spread of the coronavirus have had an unprecedented negative impact on cultural and creative sectors across Europe, including Cyprus.
Cultural concerts, events and theatre performances were canceled. Museums, theatres and cinemas were closed. The production of culture has stopped…The list of negative effects, unfortunately, is getting longer by the day.
There is an urgent need to immediately find and release critical resources to overcome the unprecedented challenges facing cultural and creative sectors.
In this context, together with my colleague Niyazi Kızılyürek, we have tabled a written question to the European Commission on Friday 17th April requesting an answer as to what measures and actions it intends to take to:
- ensure that member states will provide access to the creators of cultural values and producers of cultural work whose livelihoods are being threatened through: (a) funds within the framework of the COVID-19 Investment Initiative which has been announced and (b) financial support in the context of the expansion of the scope of the Provisional Framework for state assistance.
- (a) the immediate payment of the remaining amounts of funding for cultural programmes already under way, the (b) acceleration/activation of programs whose start, although approved, has been delayed due to the pandemic, as well as (c) the elaboration of new programs to provide economic support to Digital Culture activities.
- the significant strengthening of the funding program for Culture during the period 2021-2027 as well as the creation, with the end of the pandemic, of a satisfactory package of financial incentives for cultural artists across Europe, in order to address the long-term effects of the pandemic (for example, further facilitating the mobility of artists and their works).
Likewise, the Cypriot state has a huge responsibility and obligation towards the Cypriot creators of culture. That is precisely why the government must set among its priorities to provide immediate support towards all aspects of cultural creation and its artists.
People of culture give our lives a menacing in a catalytic way. They restructure our vision of a better world. They strengthen our hope for overcoming the difficulties we face.
The majority of artists in culture can hardly make ends meet from their work, especially today…
The government must, even belatedly, support them in practice. It is its duty to realise that a country without culture is a country without a future.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
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