In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of Grütters’ European counterparts made their way to the Federal Chancellery in person. The main purpose of the meeting was to examine the challenges posed by the pandemic for the entire cultural sector across Europe.

Calls for recovery assistance in the cultural sector

“We all agree that European recovery assistance must take appropriate account of the cultural and creative sector,” the Minister of State said. She went on to explain that the EU’s pandemic recovery assistance must also benefit artists, workers in the creative economy and cultural facilities, while EU assistance programmes ought to have a stronger cultural policy emphasis.

“What we also need are proportionate pandemic regulations to keep culture alive in Europe,” said the Minister of State. She emphasised that health considerations must of course always take precedence, but that there are now examples demonstrating that it is possible to resume cultural activities even during the pandemic.

Europe’s heart beats in our culture, says Monika Grütters

Earlier, Monika Grütters pointed to the unifying power of our common European culture, saying: “Europe’s heart beats in our culture”. She is convinced that if we can now manage to re-mobilise the force of the creative sector and our common cultural heritage, the COVID-19 pandemic could strengthen trust in the European Union and thus also in European solidarity and cohesion.

National experiences and strategies

Later, the ministers of culture discussed their national experiences and successful strategies for resuming cultural activities.

In this context, Monika Grütters drew attention to the German rescue and recovery programme NEUSTART KULTUR, for which the German Government has provided one billion euros. It is expressly designed primarily to maintain infrastructure in order to guarantee jobs - and thus income - for artists and all those working in the creative sector.

Visit to the Humboldt Forum

Exchange and diversity were also central themes of the cultural programme that followed. On the agenda was a visit to the Humboldt Forum, which is due to open in December. During a guided tour, the ministers were able to learn more about the concept of the Forum, which is currently the most important national cultural project.