The EU’s Commissioner for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, was unexpectedly caught out by a question on the European Union Youth Orchestra at a ministerial meeting on families. An Austrian minister asked why the EUYO was being defunded, and the Hungarian commissioner seemed not to know his basic facts. As soon as he had finished stumbling through an answer, the EUYO issued this rebuttal of his claims:
– 1 Commissioner Navracsics referred on a number of occasions to the ‘EUYO’s funding application’. This is incorrect. The application was made not by the EUYO, but by the Towards 2020 Partnership, a partnership of 11 organisations (one of them being the EUYO) together with a further 35 Associate Partners.
– 2 Commissioner Navracsics referred to the EUYO’s annual funding applications. Since his accession as Commissioner the EUYO has never made (nor has been able to make) annual applications.
– 3 Commissioner Navracsics referred to the recent Creative Europe application as having been judged by independent experts as being of ‘poor quality’. This is not what the independent experts reported in their detailed evaluation of the application.
– 4 Most importantly, Commissioner Navracsics’ statement fails to mention that the EUYO had a meeting with him in Brussels in January 2015. We met to seek an alternative funding solution appropriate to a long established EU cultural ambassador organisation such as the EUYO. Creative Europe is a partnership project fund and was never designed to be used as a core funding stream for cultural ambassador organisations. The Orchestra received no response to this meeting, nor to subsequent meetings with other EU offices.
Commissioner Navracsics today asked for patience as the Commission seeks a solution. Unless a solution to the core funding needs of the EUYO is found by July, the Orchestra will be forced to cease operations from 1 September.