“White Year” for intermittent workers, the compensation fund for cancelled filming and exemption from contributions for authors: Emmanuel Macron announced Wednesday a series of measures to support a cultural sector hit hard by the economic crisis linked to the coronavirus, calling on artists to be “inventive” in this period of uncertainty.
Theatres, cinemas, major museums and concert halls have been closed for seven weeks in France where filming has also been interrupted and many festivals, like those of Cannes and Avignon, forced to cancel or postpone their 2020 edition.
This shutdown of activity in a sector that employs 1.3 million people in France is causing deep concern, particularly among the ranks of intermittent workers in the entertainment, cinema and audiovisual industries, who find themselves threatened with radiation by Pole Emploi for lack of a sufficient number of hours worked.
“Many (intermittent) will not be able to work their hours,” admitted the head of state during a videoconference with artists from different fields.
“I want to make a commitment that the intermittent artists and technicians will be extended for a year beyond the six months when their activity has been impossible or very degraded, that is to say until the end August 2021. ”
“My conviction in doing this, this famous white year, is that I will give enough confidence so that almost we do not need it. We are going to give with many projects the hours that will allow all these artists and technicians not to activate these devices, ”he added. “I know that there are immense precariousness and psychological collapse, a loss of confidence (…)”
This “white year” was a request from the unions who considered that the “neutralization” of the confinement period for the calculation of the 507 hours over twelve months required to be able to benefit from the intermittent scheme and unemployment insurance was insufficient.
Another announcement by the Head of State, the establishment of a “temporary compensation” fund which may apply “on a case-by-case basis for series, for filming which must be cancelled or postponed”. The artist authors will benefit from the exemption from contributions for four months.
The self-employed and very small businesses in the culture sector will be eligible for the 7 billion euro solidarity fund set up by the government for the months of March, April and May, in order to cope with the economic consequences of the ‘epidemic.
“We will put in place all the devices to support them in capital and activity so that the self-employed can remain independent,” assured Emmanuel Macron. “The fabric of festivals that makes up the richness of our cultural landscape, we must protect it.”
“Very weakened” by the crisis, the National Music Center, created on January 1, 2020, will be “renovated to the tune of 50 million euros”, said the Head of State, who also wanted to launch of “a major public procurement program”.
At a time when the date of reopening of cultural places is still uncertain, Emmanuel Macron called for the invention of new forms of interaction with the public.
It may be “at least for this summer” with a smaller audience “and what I expect from you is to find these new forms”, he said. “We have suffered a lot from this virus. There, we are entering a period where we have to, in a way, get on the virus, domesticate it ”.