Creative Europe Desk UK to be delivered through new partnership between the BFI and the British Council.

Creative Europe, the European Commission’s (EC) seven-year funding programme for the cultural and creative sectors, has launched in the UK today with 9% more funding available to creative businesses across Europe.  

Creative Europe, which came into force on January 1, has a €1.46 billion budget over seven years. It combines the EC’s existing Culture and MEDIA Programmes and claims it will benefit more than 300,000 cultural professionals.

It will also support the distribution of more than 1,000 European films in 2,500 cinemas and will translate 5,500 books.

Guarantee Fund worth €121m

The new Creative Europe programme features a new bank guarantee, the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Fund, which is set to be introduced in 2016.

The fund is worth €121million and will see Creative Europe underwrite bank loans to creative businesses, helping to unlock private finance in a bid to support the growth of the creative industries and to educate the financial sector about the benefits of backing creativity.

UK plans

Creative Europe will be delivered in the UK through a new partnership between the British Film Institute (BFI) and the British Council.

Creative Europe Desk UK will promote Creative Europe in the UK, replacing the former MEDIA Desk UK and Antennae and the UK Cultural Contact Point. 

Under the joint leadership of the BFI and British Council, Creative Europe Desk UK will bring together partners from across the UK including Arts Council England, Arts Council Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen, Creative Scotland and Arts Council Wales and the Welsh Government, and will see the establishment of a dedicated information office in each of the UK’s nations, and in one of the English regions outside of London.   

Previous funding

The UK audio-visual industries benefitted from funding worth just over €100m through the MEDIA programme which ran until 2013. 

Around €50m supported UK companies directly, including production companies (Ruby Films, Sixteen Films, Recorded Picture Company and others), distributors, cinemas, training courses, markets and festivals. 

The other €50m supported the cinema releases of British films across Europe, with examples including €1.5 million for The Iron Lady, €1.3 million for Slumdog Millionaire and €1 million for The King’s Speech

For the Culture Programme 273 UK organisations were involved in 344 projects receiving almost €128 million in total. Recipients include the Take Five Europe scheme to develop the international careers of emerging jazz musicians – led by Serious Events in the UK, with partners in France, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland.

The number of UK organisations participating in projects has increased by 50% since the programme started in 2007.


Michel Magnier, director for Culture and Creativity at the European Commission and Brian Holmes, interim director for the European Commission‘s Executive Agency for Education, Audiovisual and Culture (EAEAC), formally launched Creative Europe at an event this afternoon (Jan 28).

Magnier said: “UK filmmakers, artists and cultural professionals deservedly enjoy recognition from audiences and peers worldwide, and UK cultural organisations are sought-after partners in creative European collaborations - bringing expertise and inspiration, while challenging assumptions and the status quo.

“The UK’s audio-visual industry brings to Europe a wealth of talent and professionalism, with filmmakers who are cherished across the continent and indeed the world, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Stephen Frears, Clio Barnard to mention just a few.

“I am excited to see how Creative Europe can play its role in supporting these vibrant sectors and help to inspire fruitful partnerships and collaboration with professionals across the rest of Europe, and beyond.”

Supporting British talent

Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI, said: “Supporting and promoting British talent and companies internationally and bringing a diverse range of world and European cinema to British audiences are key priorities for the BFI, and Creative Europe will play an important role in helping us to achieve these aims.

“The UK is a leader in creativity, and our creative industries are recognised as key engines for economic growth. We’re excited to enter into this new partnership with the British Council to help ensure that entrepreneurial professionals across the UK can access and benefit from support through Creative Europe, to help UK film, culture and creativity continue to thrive.”

Brokering int’l partnerships

Graham Sheffield, Director of Arts at the British Council, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with the BFI to lead the delivery of Creative Europe desks for the UK.

“We share the European Commission’s view that international exchange and collaboration in the arts and the creative industries supports the prosperity of the sector, while promoting understanding between cultures.

“As well as providing advice and support to organisations in the UK, we will be able to use our global network of offices to help broker effective European and international partnerships.”

Seven-year run

Creative Europe launched on Jan 1 and runs until Dec 31, 2020. It replaces previous separate ‘Culture’ and ‘MEDIA’ programmes. There are a number of funding streams available under Creative Europe that organisations can apply for.

To help promote the programme, and support applications, the European Commission funds a Creative Europe Desk service in all member states, including other participating countries.

The BFI and British Council began delivering an interim service on Jan 1 for the audio-visual and culture sectors, on behalf of DCMS, until the formalised BFI/BC partnership commences from April 1 2014.