It is a constant of the presidential campaigns, but more so in this 2022 vintage without much relief: almost forgotten in the debates, culture is little mentioned by the candidates, after a second part of the five-year period marked mainly by aid against COVID-19. “There are proposals from the candidates, but not really a common thread or projects that allow us to glimpse a re-enchanted cultural policy“, Estimates the economist Françoise Benhamou, a specialist in culture and media, interviewed by AFP.
Emmanuel Macron: extension of the Cultural Pass
“There may be a lack of ideas. Emmanuel Macron remains very focused on expanding the cultural pass for young people, but we continue in the same perspective“, he adds. In his press conference on March 17, the presidential candidate also mentioned “support for creation and artists“promising”a second step“of public order, to give continuity to the call for projects of 30 million euros launched during the Covid pandemic.
As for the great presidential project of the Cité internationale de la langue française, at the Château de Villers-Cotterêts (Aisne), it should finally open in the fall, after a delay attributed to Covid.
The audiovisual license fee in question
Like his far-right and far-right rivals, Emmanuel Macron is also proposing the abolition of the audiovisual license fee, raising serious concerns at France Télévisions and Radio France, in particular.
For his part, Fabien Roussel announces that he wants to create a “National Media Council” to guarantee respect for freedom of information in the country. At the same time, the candidate of the French Communist Party proposes passing a law “against concentrations in press, media and audiovisual”.
Heritage highlighted by Zemmour and Le Pen
For their part, Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour dedicate the least part to culture in their program, approached mainly from the angle of safeguarding heritage. The former CNews debater also wants television adaptations of literary works and historical accounts. A culture of Puy-du-Fou, the Vendée amusement park of his friend Philippe de Villiers? “Puy-du-Fou is the mix between modernity and French genius. We are often more modern because we are rooted in a past that we know well“, praises the candidate Reconquest!.
A budget increase? yes to the left
On the right, Valérie Pécresse wants to reduce VAT to 5.5% on all cultural goods, insists on artistic education and heritage and proposes “the first traveling national museum of contemporary art and designn”. But, at the same time, the LR candidate does not intend to increase the budget of the ministry, up to four billion euros (excluding public broadcasting) in 2022.
The left promises raises. Like the communist Fabien Roussel, the rebel Jean-Luc Mélenchon wants to increase the budget for culture to 1% of annual GDP. The LFI candidate wants to expand free admission to all museums or improve the system for intermittent workers. For the environmentalist Yannick Jadot, this is an additional one billion euros per year and 25% of the total budget dedicated to creation.
New institutions for culture?
Among the various promises of the candidates, we find the proposal to create new institutions to defend the interests of culture. For Fabien Roussel, this translates into the creation of a Ministry of Culture, Popular Education and the Media in which the general states of culture will be organized.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon has announced that he wants to create a National Video Game Center or even a public archeology center.
Artistic education, priority of Anne Hidalgo and Valérie Pécresse
The socialist Anne Hidalgo proposes to strengthen artistic education, welcoming 10,000 artists in schools from the year 2023. She also asks that all public stages be able to receive systematically and throughout the year“artists in residence.
Valérie Pécresse, for her part, promises to triple the budget dedicated to artistic and cultural education, from 100 to 300 million euros a year. Fabien Roussel plans to build a national plan for art education at school, from kindergarten to university.
The book and the performing arts avoided in the debates
Even so, the different sectors are concerned about the lack of space that has been given to their concerns in this campaign, particularly in the book sector, the country’s main cultural industry. However, the moment is crucial for the edition, which is preparing for a big bang, with the promised takeover bid by Vivendi (Editis), a subsidiary of the Bolloré group, for Lagardère (Hachette Livre). On the side of live performance, Prodiss, the national syndicate of musical and variety shows, questions the candidates about the challenges of the moment, such as the articulation between the “live” show and the growing influence of digital platforms, enhanced due to the Covid crisis.
In the heart of the epidemic, “the culture was very helpful“, considers despite everything the economist Françoise Benhamou who judges the ministry “less weakened than in other times“In total, about 14 billion euros have been mobilized for the world of culture since the start of the health crisis, according to figures from rue de Valois. However, some practices are difficult, such as the will of the Elysée weighing on the appointments at the head of the main cultural institutions”.We had an interventionist head of state. There is certainly something to rebalance, because it has weakened the minister.” Roselyne Bachelot, judge Françoise Benhamou.