Alexis Georgoulis, the popular Greek actor turned politician, is at the forefront of efforts as a member of the European Parliament to promote common EU approaches to culture and heritage.
The former star in the television series “The Durrells,” who played the character of Spiros Halikiopoulos, says that Europe should pull its act together to defend and promote its culture and its heritage.
In a recent intervention at the European Parliament, Georgoulis asked the Commission to provide financial support for research into the performing arts.
“The shadow of the coronavirus pandemic has forced the performing arts to reinvent themselves through a number of changes and innovations, many of which are likely to become permanent,” Georgoulis says.
He adds that “the performing arts have been hard hit by COVID-19, and it will be quite some time before audiences can once again attend live shows.”
“At the same time, he says, COVID-19 has sped up digitization and has imposed new data requirements on an industry that had not prepared itself.”
More EU funds needed for performing arts
The Greek MEP called on the Commission to specify what measures does it intend to take to strengthen research and innovation, and asked whether there are any funds available from the Recovery and Resilience Facility towards that end.
Georgoulis, who was elected to the European Parliament in 2019, and is now a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education, says that unemployment in the sector has reached record numbers.
Responding to Georgoulis, Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, conceded that the confinement due to the pandemic “will have a long-term impact by reducing incomes and adding to unemployment” in the sector.
The cultural sector could be an agent to the recovery of European societies and the revival of social cohesion, the Commissioner said, and added that in the post-COVID-19 era, the EU will help performing arts.
Gabriel said that the EU has a number of programs for research in the cultural and creative sectors, but added that its up to member states to prioritize funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility.