Country reports


Expert author: Thomas Perrin
Last update: September 11th

In July, the Ministry of Culture has presented a summary of the sums and measures implemented to support the cultural sector since March 2020. In total the government support amounts to around EUR 5 billion:

  • EUR 2.9 billion dedicated to governmental support mechanisms for culture and media stakeholders: complement to partial activity, solidarity fund, state-guaranteed loans, charges-exception;
  • EUR 120 million for emergency measures allocated via some operators: national centres for music, cinema, book; emergency fund for performing arts in the private sector; loans and granted guarantees by the public bank for cultural and creative businesses;
  • around EUR 1 billion increase in the national budget for culture and media in 2021, in different forms: additional credits, tax expenditure, exemptions from social security contribution;
  • EUR 950 million will be devoted to preserving the specific rights of temporary/occasional performing and audiovisual artists and technicians (intermittence du spectacle) until 31 August 2021 (“White Year” scheme).

More information including the distribution per sector is available here. 

In parallel, the study and statistics department investigated the impact of the crisis on the cultural sector. Before the pandemic, with a turnover of EUR 97 billion euros and a value added of EUR 47 billion, the weight of culture was estimated at 2.3% of the economy, with a market sector composed of 79,800 companies. 635,700 people were employed primarily in culture. The impact of the COVID-19 crisis will translate into an average revenue decline of 25% in 2020 compared to 2019 (EUR 22.3 billion). The largest impact will be on the live performing arts sector (-72%), heritage (-36%), visual arts (-31%) and architecture (-28%).

More information and documents are available here.

Additionally, the cultural sector is included in the national recovery plan that was announced in September 2020. Within this plan, EUR 2 billion will be allocated to the cultural sector, which is expected to consolidate and complement the previous measures. Five priorities are defined: 1. Heritage restoration; 2. Support to the performing arts and public creative institutions; 3. Support for artists and young creators through specific employment aids, an exceptional public commissioning programme and the strengthening of higher cultural education; 4. Consolidation of strategic cultural sectors (press, cinema and audiovisual, books, public audiovisual …); 5. Strategic investments for the future evolution of cultural and creative industries.

More information including the distribution per sector is available here.

Moreover, the Ministry of Culture edited a series of technical guides to help cultural and artistic institutions resume their activities under the current sanitary rules.

May 6th

On May 6th, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, unveiled a Plan for Culture, with specific measures especially regarding cultural workers’ social rights:
  • The extension until August 2021 of the unemployment rights of the temporary performing artists and technicians (intermittents du spectacle). This “blank year” was a query from the unions, who felt that the “neutralisation” of the confinement period for calculating the 507 hours over 12 months was required to qualify for the intermittent scheme and that unemployment insurance was insufficient.
  • The creation of a compensation fund for cancelled series or shootings, which could not be resumed as the sector was not insured against pandemics.
  • Artist-authors will benefit from a 4-month exoneration of the social security contributions.
  • The launch of a major programme of public commissions aimed in particular at “young creators under 30 years of age”, with the ambition of “inventing an extraordinary season” and reaching out to audiences sometimes forgotten in the world of culture.
  • The self-employed and very small businesses in the cultural sector will be eligible for the EUR 7 billion solidarity fund set up by the government for the months of March, April and May, in order to deal with the economic consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak.

April 20th

The Ministry of Culture has set up the digital cultural platform #Culturecheznous, which brings together the online offer proposed by the Ministry and its many operators, in various domains: archaeology, cinema, museums, audiovisual, performing arts, youth, heritage, dance, educational resources, archives and more.

The French Observatory of Cultural Policies regularly publishes a specific newsletter (in French) on arts and culture in times of COVID-19 (Les arts et la culture à l’heure du confinement). It takes stock of current events in the cultural sector in relation to the current outbreak, such as solidarity mechanisms, crisis observatory and cultural survival kits. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

On March 27th, the French state and the Ministry of Culture announced a first series of specific actions to support the cultural sector:

Exceptional measures allowing cultural workers, in particular intermittent workers, to keep their rights until the end of the containment period.
Emergency support funds of EUR 23.5 million for the cultural sector.
Support measures for third places in the social environment by the French agency for territorial cohesion, in particular related to taxes.
– The set up of an information and assistance point for cultural professionals.

The regions are working in conjunction with the Ministry’s regional offices (DRAC) and other cultural agencies for the diagnosis and evaluation of needs. Most regions decided to maintain granted subsidies, even if the events are cancelled. Some regions have already voted for an emergency fund to complement the state measures.

Prodiss, the national union for performing arts and entertainment, estimates the loss of revenue at EUR 590 million for the private performing arts sector and that around 37.8000 people are affected by a slowdown of business.

Some organisations that collect and distribute author rights (SPRD), Sacem, Adami and Spedidam, have announced they will maintain their financial aid despite a drop in copyright collections.

On April 15th, ADAMI (Collective management organisation for the rights of performers) announced an EUR 11.3 million plan for artists, which includes the following measures:
– EUR 8.5 million released for a payment made directly to the artists in the form of an exceptional distribution.
– EUR 1.8 million of financial aid maintained for artistic projects cancelled or postponed and previously supported by Adami with a special focus on the remuneration of artists
– EUR 330,000 in additional funding to their “Right to the Heart” scheme to support artists facing the most urgent social situations.
– EUR 500,000 for the emergency fund set up by the National Music Centre (via the Ministry of Culture)
– EUR 200,000 for the performing arts emergency fund (excluding music) managed by the Association pour le Soutien au Théâtre Privé (in progress)

These measures are linked and complement the national measures (in particular a Solidarity Fund), in which the Ministry of culture is engaged.

The Facebook group “Solidarité spectacle vivant – Covid-19” allows cultural stakeholders to follow developments, share information and foster solidarity and mutual aid.