Statement of the european social partners
of the live performance sector on the energy crisis
European Social Partners of the Live Performance Sector call for
a coordinated action plan to overcome the serious impact
of the energy crisis
Brussels, 6 December 2022
PEARLE*- Live Performance Europe representing over 10 000 organisations and the EAEA - European Arts and Entertainment Alliance, representing more than 150 unions, guilds, and associations and over 600 000 performers, technicians and staff in the music, performing arts and live sector met at the annual Plenary Session of the European Social Dialogue Committee on Live Performance on December 6th in Brussels. Together they are calling on the EU institutions and national governments to adopt a coordinated approach including short-term support measures to deal with the extraordinary costs on electricity and heating and to commit to long-term investment to make the sector energy-efficient and in line with the conditions requested in the recast Directive on Energy Efficiency and the revised renewable Energy Directive to deliver the European Green Deal.
The Russian invasion in Ukraine has led to a crisis which affects many aspects of society in Europe, including the cultural sector. From the outset, cultural organisations have welcomed Ukraine artists providing them support in many ways. Social partners have seen the terrible bombing on the theatre in Mariupol and the many cultural heritage sites being destructed. They welcome the efforts of the European Commission and many EU member states which support Ukraine to rebuild the cultural heritage. In the performing arts and music sector keeping the cultural relations alive through co-productions, cooperation, skills development, etcetera is the best way to stand against the current Russian aggression.
Since the reduction of Russian gas supply which results in less availability of energy and skyrocketing prices, the cultural sector, which had even not found the time to recover from the impact of the Covid pandemic, has been faced with extraordinary energy costs. Whilst everyone takes measures where they can and with limited resources, by reducing the number of heated rooms, installing led lamps, closing parts of the building not used, lowering the temperature, and others, the main energy savings can only come from substantial investments such as installing solar panels, insulation, triple glazing, and others. Social partners call upon governments to release the necessary funds – for instance through their National Energy and Climate Plans and national recovery and resilience plans - to make sure that the cultural venues meet the standards such as set out in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. Special attention should also be paid to historic theatres where transition to green and energy-efficient building require specific expertise and handling to ensure that their architectural merit is not affected.
As in many countries, the general costs of living have gone up due to inflation, requiring social partners to take measures to manage the impact. Government support is needed for enterprises, including cultural organisations and their workers, through targeted measures. After the Covid-crisis, extra attention must be paid to those working in the live performance sector and the organisations that employ them. Social partners must be closely involved in planning how support may best be deployed for the sector.
Social partners therefore call upon the Commission and the Member States to support the cultural sector through dedicated support by increasing cultural budgets, targeted support in the field of employment and specific investment related to the saving of energy to meet new standards defined in the Green Deal. These are not the times to save on culture.