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Artists in Cyprus demand professional recognition and better working conditions

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Artists in Cyprus demand professional recognition and better working conditions

Zvstretchedhands Statusofhearti

    Artists and people working in arts-supporting sectors in Cyprus are demanding the government establish a ‘Status of the Artist’, seeking recognition and improved working conditions.

    In a statement on Wednesday, arts professionals organized with the progressive leftist group afoa, highlighted the precarious employment conditions they face, often leaving them exploited and without access to basic rights.

    “Artists and people working in arts-supporting sectors remain marginalized by the Cypriot state. The continuing failure to establish the Status of the Artist and to register their profession keeps them in precarious employment, unable to claim better working conditions, and fully exposed to exploitation, without access to medical care, without guaranteeing pension benefits,” the statement said.

    The text emphasized the importance of art in society and called on the government to recognize the needs of those working in the creative industries.

    “Through the establishment of the artist status, we demand the obvious: social security, medical care, decent employment, living conditions, retirement,” they stressed.

    The group is hosting a discussion on the ‘Status of the Artist’ in Cyprus, today 6:30 p.m. at Yalla Collective Space & Cafe in Nicosia.

    According to 2022 figures from Eurostat, a third (31.7%) of Europe's cultural and creative workers are self-employed, compared to 14% in the economy as a whole.

    The sector employs 3.8% of the EU's workforce and accounts for 4.4% of the bloc’s GDP.

    The lack of a defined ‘Status of the Artist’ has had significant consequences, with many in the arts sector facing financial insecurity, a lack of access to healthcare, and no guarantee of pension benefits.

    Cypriot government’s plans

    Setting a professional status for artists is among the government’s priorities for 2024, President Christodoulides has said.

    The government started an online public consultation process to draft a bill regulating the working conditions of artists, which ended yesterday, May 28.

    The Deputy Ministry of Culture announced that the process will continue with physical meetings for the next two weeks.

    EU developments

    On October 24, 2023, the European Parliament approved legislation, calling on the European Commission to improve living and working conditions for art, cultural and creative professionals.

    In the legislative initiative, adopted with 433 votes in favor , MEPs stress that the gaps between national social systems, different national definitions of artists and rules applying to self-employed workers create unfair conditions.

    The European Commission responded to the European Parliament’s resolution on February 21, saying that it will take steps to prioritize the issue, however, it stressed that new legislation is not currently on the table.

    This issue has been prioritized in the EU Work Plan for Culture 2019-2023, paving the way for the Member States’ experts Open Method of Coordination group, resulting in the report 'The Status and Working Conditions of Artists and Cultural and Creative Professionals'.

    (Picture: Zainub Verjee, Status of the Artist, 2020, LED neon)

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