What is EU’s Creative Europe programme

In 2014, the European Union launched the most ambitious framework program of supporting creative industries in its history. With the help from Ukrainian organizations which have already received funding from Creative Europe, we are going to tell you everything you want to know about this program and what you should do to receive funding for your project.

What is Creative Europe?

The European Union has long and consistently been funding arts and creative industries, helping conceive new, interesting projects that change societies for the better. During the past 20 years, there were many various programs offering funding to creative projects. But in 2013, the EU government decided that it would be much better to bring all of them under a single “umbrella”. That was how Creative Europe was born: a large-scale framework program intended to run for seven years (from 2014 to 2020) and covering all cultural initiatives.

The amount of funding provided under this iteration is €1.46 billion, to be disbursed as follows:

  • “Culture” subprogram, funding painting art, theater, music, preservation of cultural heritage, etc.: 31%
  • “Media” subprogram, funding audiovisual projects including films, video games, projects for television and digital platforms, etc.: 56%
  • the remaining 13% is allocated for funding of inter-sectoral programs, including maintenance of the program’s National Bureaus, one of which operates in Ukraine

Creative Europe is one of those programs that provide an opportunity to implement long-term artistic projects and build partnerships all over Europe, and have the capacity to fund large-scale projects

Bohdan Hrytsiuk, Face to Faith Project Manager

The biggest challenge to this program is the fact that the cultural and creative sectors insufficiently utilize the potential of the EU’s single market and the markets of neighboring states. The European Union has 24 official languages, three alphabets and almost 60 regional and ethnic minority languages. This situation makes the market very fragmented, and statistics prove that: only 13% of Europeans visited a concert of a performer from another European country, and only 4% saw a play staged by a theater from another European country

Therefore, Creative Europe devotes the biggest attention to international projects and co-productions of different countries.

This program allows to gain experience in joint implementation of projects with at least three partners from abroad, expand one’s professional network, present an idea to audiences in several countries, and of course, it provides financial support for several years. But most importantly, it enables long-term planning and development of managerial competencies for cultural projects. 

Yulia Khomchyn, Modernism for the Future 360/365 project

The sustainability of funding results is also an important element, which means that a project lives on and continues to produce effect on cultural life of Europe even after the funding ends.

For us, there is no such thing as life before grant and after grant, because a grant is not a goal in itself. Every grant is a result of methodical professional work of leading experts in a particular field. 

Yelizaveta Miroshnichenko, Handicraft Chamber of Ukraine

The program ends in 2020. What’s next?

A new, 2021-2027 iteration of the program will begin, so even if you are unable to apply for a grant this year, you can do that the next year. 

Ukraine is presently not a EU member state. Are Ukrainians eligible for funding?

The program encompasses not only EU member states but also the European countries working closely with the European Union: 41 countries in total, including Ukraine.

Not the entire 100% of the program’s amount is available to Ukrainians, because not the entire Ukrainian legislation has been harmonized with European standards (it concerns, in particular, some contests under “Media” subprogram, for which Ukrainian candidates cannot apply for a grant directly but can work in a consortium with international partners). But we are eligible to participate in all other contests and receive funding for our projects without impediments. 

What are the funding eligibility requirements?

Every particular contest under Creative Europe has its own requirements to applicants, but there are also general requirements: 

  • You need to have a legal entity, because individual grants are presently unavailable under this program
  • You also have to make a down payment toward the funding of your project, because Creative Europe does not cover 100% of its costs
  • The majority of contests require a partnership, which means that you need to find partner organizations (also legal entities) from the countries of Creative Europe program to be eligible for funding

How to find partners?

If you have been active for quite a while and have an established network of partners or simply contacts in your field, it is quite possible that some of the organizations which know you could be interested in a joint project funded with a grant from Creative Europe.

We discussed current projects with the colleagues from Kaunas and Brno even before preparing an application, and found out that the topic of architectural heritage of interwar modernism and city residencies is of contemporary significance for each of these cities. It was when the colleagues from Kaunas suggested preparing a joint project for a Creative Europe contest and inviting colleagues from Kortrijk

Yulia Khomchyn, Modernism for the Future 360/365 project

If your organization is new and you haven’t had a chance to establish enough contacts, you can find a partner for implementation of your project online. First of all, we recommend to take a look at thousands of projects that have already received support. Perhaps one of them would want to work on your idea together in the future. For example, you may visit the website of the National Bureau Ukraine, which has the following instruments of searching for partners:

  • A catalog of organizations open to partnerships
  • Links to specialized websites, where you can find organizations from the cultural sector

You can also leave an application for the search of partners, and the National Bureau will help you with that.

Got it. How to apply?

All participants of this program agree on one thing: it is impossible to submit an application one day before the deadline. But at the same time, the program has no supernatural requirements, because most of what you’ll be preparing in support of your grant application you will need when implementing your project.

Detailed planning, required by the terms of the program itself, allows to avoid excessive hastiness and separate the organizational and meritorious parts of your project, which is very valuable for the field of culture. 

Yulia Khomchyn, Modernism for the Future 360/365 project

So, let’s say that you designed a project, have a clear idea how to implement it, and even found partners. How to apply for funding, then? Here’s the answer.

Creative Europe program features many contests for projects in various formats. Find the right contest on the website of the program’s National Bureau Ukraine and wait until they start accepting applications. After that, you will have to:

  1. Register your organization on the European Commission’s specialized portal where applications are accepted
  2. Submit your application, which consists of two parts: administrative, and description of activities

We continuously held online discussions, prepared documents and “proofread” the form, looked for local partners for co-financing, etc. One cannot write an application “overnight”.

Oksana Polivchak, Our Visions women’s charitable organization

Generally speaking, before submitting an application per se you should already have all data concerning your project handy. If you already have a history of implementing projects, whether funded with grants or without them, gather the entire available information about them as well. It would greatly help your application. 

Perhaps the main and the most important thing is to prepare your application in advance. Gather the entire statistical data for your event, and be able to confirm it. In addition, it is important to consult the Ukrainian Bureau, analyze the projects that already received support and monitor all changes in the program’s priorities.

Yulia Sinkevych, General Producer, Odesa International Film Festival

There is a special manual on how to submit applications, available in Ukrainian. Thanks to a detailed description of this process, you will definitely make no mistakes.

What renowned projects have received funding from Creative Europe?

Creative Europe has significant influence over the continent’s cultural landscape. There are many projects implemented with the program’s funding, and you have definitely heard about some of them but didn’t know that they became possible thanks to Creative Europe.

The Witcher: Blood and Wine

A national pride of Poland, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt video game received an expansion pack in 2016 titled Blood and Wine. The supplement’s plot follows the travel of Geralt the Witcher to the flourishing duchy of Toussaint, prototyped on winemaking regions of France and Italy.

The volume of the expansion pack’s content is comparable with certain full-fledged video games — that’s how large it is. To produce it, CD Projekt Red studio received €150,000 from Creative Europe, or almost 7% of the total development budget. According to the most recent data, the sales turnover of the video game together with supplements has reached 50 million copies, and in 2020 CD Projekt Red became the most valuable video game development company in Europe. 

European cinema clubs

The European Commission provided funding under “Media” subprogram for the establishment and development of six pilot projects of cinema clubs for schoolchildren in six European countries: Spain, Romania, Cyprus, Lithuania, Latvia and Georgia. 364 schools and 434 teachers participated in this project. More than 8000 students watched almost 4.5 thousand European-produced films.

The results were also positive. Almost 80% of students in various countries said that the screenings helped them with studies of arts, history and ethics; the majority of participants also said that they were able to improve their knowledge of foreign languages thanks to this project. Almost 70% of teachers were satisfied with the project’s outcome as well.

Most of these cinema clubs continue to operate after the end of funding from Creative Europe, and organization of these initiatives raised interest in many other countries as well, including Ukraine. 

Film adaptation of Britt-Marie Was Here novel

Today, Swedish writer Fredrik Backman is one of the most popular authors in the world. His books are sold in millions of copies, and the writer is literally being hunted by film and TV producers anxious to make screen adaptations of his works. For example, a film adaptation of Backman’s novel A Man Called Ove, which back in its time became a breakthrough for the writer, is expected to be released this year (unless the release is postponed due to the pandemic). Tom Hanks will star in this film.

His other novel, Britt-Marie Was Here, was made into a film in Sweden in 2019 with the funding provided by Creative Europe.

The film adaptation was a success, and received positive critical reception: The New York Times gave the film a rating of 70/100, and the website of the legendary film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four.


In addition, Creative Europe funded hundreds of film festivals across Europe, educational programs in various fields ranging from cinema to music and 3D animation, programs of preserving cultural and natural landmarks, and over 3000 various projects more, so your project could become one of them.

Are there any Ukrainian projects among all of them?


Two large Ukrainian film festivals took advantage of the assistance from Creative Europe: Molodist Film Festival in Kyiv (in 2019) and Odesa International Film Festival (postponed to the fall of 2020).

Using a grant from Creative Europe, Astrolabe Publishing House translated several dozens of books by European authors — classical and modern — into Ukrainian. In addition, the funding from Creative Europe also went on the translation of books by Ukrainian authors into various European languages. In particular, works by Serhii Zhadan were translated into Latvian, Italian, Dutch and Bulgarian, Taras Prokhasko into Hungarian and Liubko Deresh into Romanian. 

Thanks to the help from Creative Europe and another three partnership organizations, the women’s charitable organization Our Visions organized Brave Kids international children’s festival of arts aimed to bring together children from all over the world and from all walks of life in the atmosphere of friendship and respect of other cultures to share their artistic achievements and cultural experience.

Another initiative, Face to Faith, is a large-scale four-year theatrical project that uses various educational and cultural practices to create staged plays. Its participants, coming from seven countries including Ukraine, will present plays on the same topic and having a common plotline.

Thanks to Creative Europe, almost ten new Ukrainian-produced films saw the light, including The Earth Is Blue as an Orange by Ukrainian filmmaker Iryna Tsilyk, Mr Jones by Agnieszka Holland, and even Sergei Loznitsa’s Donbass.

Tustan SCO, which manages the same-name fortress city in the Lviv Oblast, has created The Territory of Inspiration art residence on its premise. This project was selected from among 400 plus applications and funded by 60% of its total budget of 320,000 euros. The project brought together five countries, with Slovak organization Machaon International as its main initiator.

This art residence offers the most favorable conditions for artistes from all over Europe, hosting plein air exhibitions, symposiums and festivals, thus increasing the region’s tourism attractiveness.

I still have questions. Where can I receive a consultation?

Ukraine has a National Bureau of the European Union’s program Creative Europe, which will be happy to help all potential applicants with any questions, find partners and prepare their applications.

However, bear in mind that the National Bureau does not review applications and has no power over decisions approving the funding.

By Oleksandr Mamzurenko

Source: Na Chasi