Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, on tour in Japan, responded swiftly to the closure of the European Union Youth Orchestra with an offer to lobby the EU to reverse its miserable decision.
In an article in today’s Guardian, the EUYO’s CEO Marshall Marcus says the defunding of EUYO was not a considered decision, rather a consequence of some larger, meaningless Brussels policy of the kind that no-one fully understands and which drives many Europeans to despair.
This funding decision is simply the consequence of a change in the EU’s cultural funding policy. Two years ago it was decided by the EU that there was to be no more cultural funding for any single organisation. Instead, €1.45bn of cultural support over seven years (a 7% increase on the previous programme) was only allowed to be used on projects with a highly complicated partnership structure. The new Creative Europe programme has wonderful objectives. But it is project funding to encourage national organisations to get together to become more European, not core funding for what is the original pan-European organisation.
We went to talk to Commissioner Navracsics and also members of President Schulz’s cabinet in early 2015 to say that this “one size fits all”-approach to cultural funding doesn’t work? for an EU orchestra with members from 28 countries, and that we were being forced into the wrong funding box. They listened, apparently, but neither the Commissioner nor the well-meaning cabinet members had any answer. And Navracsics’ hastily put together statement from yesterday seems to only repeat the same category error, a simpleton bureaucrat mantra trying to dodge the absurdity of the EU apparently having no responsibility to give any support to the EU’s own youth orchestra. Excuse me?
This is government in the hands of bureaucrats, by the bureaucrats, for the bureaucrats.