Saint Nick’s Creative Policy Puzzle

On the eve of Saint Nick’s visit to the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and the eastern and western reaches of France and Germany respectively, an old-fashioned game themed post.

European policy making is something of a jigsaw.  As kids get older (and become big kids sometimes) they seek increasingly complex jigsaws.  Not to belittle their achievements, but we could think of the early European policy jigsaw as a small puzzle with a small number of large pieces. As Europe has grown, so has the policy puzzle. We now have a huge jigsaw and some policy areas are very much like doing the blue sky in a landscape puzzle.  Lots of blue pieces, seemingly the same colour, but each definitely only having one spot in the completed picture. I wonder if the creative industries aren’t one of these blue skies, with so many different stakeholders with so many different nuances. On 2nd December we learnt that these industries are one of the biggest in Europe in terms of jobs (especially for young people) and turnover.  The European Commission want to support these industries so that they reach more Europeans.  But the music industry isn’t the film industry, and the publishing industry isn’t the video game industry, so how do we fit all the policy puzzle pieces together to put our blue sky together?

The last 5 years has seen the Commission and stakeholders doing the equivalent of organising the puzzle pieces into hues and shapes.  There are now two recent studies showing the economic importance of the cultural and creative industries.  Economic and legal studies have been commissioned into the remuneration of creators, the European Parliament has published a study on the same issue.  The Commission has researched the different exceptions to authors' rights and copyright, the demand for cross-border access to creative works and the needs of distributors.  Everyone has been consulted on authors' rights and copyright, converged media, taxation and more. The finished image is starting to take shape but does this Commission have the patience to put the final pieces together correctly or will it start rushing to put pieces together that do not fit?  Getting the beautiful blue sky of the creative industries right is surely worth the extra effort. JT