ECBN Managing Director Bernd Fesel took part in this A Science|Business executive roundtable, supported by the European Commission and organised on the 11th April in Brussels.


Europe’s creative and cultural industries are vibrant and vast, representing 4.2% of the EU’s GDP, employing 8.4 million – and enriching the lives of citizens everywhere. The EU entertainment software industry is growing steadily and profitably. Video and film continue to be acclaimed European exports. And a profusion of new interactive and online technologies – from social media to virtual reality – are opening new opportunities for European entrepreneurship. To maximise its impact in the future, the European content industry needs to collaborate better with technology companies, innovate new finance and business models, and look to growing global markets while maintaining their European identities.

The latest legislation for Horizon Europe, the EU’s next big research and innovation programme, proposes an ambitious effort to catalyse this kind of interaction and dynamism. At the same time, a range of other EU policies and programmes – Creative EuropeInvest EUDigital Europe – are working to strengthen and support cultural and creative initiatives that can have an impact on the sector and promote international cooperation.

This Science|Business roundtable was intended to open a cross-sectoral, pan-European discussion on how these programmes might develop during the 2020s, and how these inter-related industries could best prosper in global and European markets. The dialogue brought together leaders in video and film production, augmented and virtual reality, innovative finance, technology platforms, and in European and member state policy making. The half-day workshop, which will produce a published report of conclusions, was opened by Christian Ehlera rapporteur in the European Parliament on the Horizon Europe legislation, and a strong champion of the future opportunities this fusion of sectors, technologies and finance can bring. Among the questions debated:

  • What are the three most important challenges facing Europe’s digital content industries over the coming decade? What can be done about them?
  • Does Europe have to own the platforms and infrastructure to succeed?
  • How can we better connect content and technology industries in Europe?
  • For the CCI work in Horizon Europe, what specifically could it do to make a difference?
  • How can the EU best organise the different programmes focusing on CCI?

Photos credit: Bernd Fesel.