The new President-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced the nominations of 27 new commissioners, due to be formally appointed once approved by the European Parliament on 1 November. While the gender balance of the new commission has been welcomed, the removal of culture from a commissioner’s job title is seen as a backward step.

Mariya Gabriel from Bulgaria, who previously served as Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, has been nominated for the new role of Commissioner for Innovation and Youth. Recognition of culture has been removed from headline titles of the commission, having previously been included in the role of Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (Tibor Navracsics, 2014-2019).

“At a time when the need to recognise how our shared culture can bind us together as European citizens is so important, it is extremely disappointing to see culture neglected in this way. The challenges of the coming years can only be addressed by coming together and understanding each other’s experiences and world views so that we can work collectively for the common good. Millions of Europeans use culture and creativity to enjoy themselves and build lasting relationships locally and internationally.

The crucial work of the Creative Europe programme and the countless networks, organisations and volunteers around Europe help bring culture to the fore so that we can celebrate our distinct cultural backgrounds and our shared human desire for self expression. We believe that cultural exchange and broader cultural understanding is essential in building a peaceful, collaborative Europe for the future and this should be recognised in the commissioner’s title.”

Amateo President, Susan Fazakerley

Culture Action Europe has launched a petition to call on Ursula von der Leyen to bring culture back into Commissioner Gabriel’s title. Amateo is proudly supporting this call for all those who value culture to sign the petition.