EU Research and Culture

EU Research and Culture

Research, innovation and space

Between 70% and 80% of research in EU countries is carried out and funded on a national basis, but the EU has a coordination mission for research, the goal of increasing cross-border projects and a common budget for that purpose. This has gradually grown to become the world’s largest budget for cross-border research.

For the years 2014–2020, almost EUR 80 billion will be allocated to European research and innovation projects. These projects must be located in three main areas: Outstanding research (including scholarships for individual researchers), industrial leadership (including grants to small and medium-sized enterprises) and research on societal challenges. The last item covers health, well-being and demography, food security, clean energy, green transport, climate action, an inclusive society, and a safe and innovative society.

How much of the EU’s research money ends up in each member state depends on how good researchers are at applying and how good their projects are. Sweden is usually successful and wins larger research grants than correspond to our country’s size in the EU.

According to politicsezine, EU countries are also urged to spend 3% of their GDP annually on research (1% from the public sector). Only Sweden and Germany reached the ambition in 2016 where the EU average was 2.03 percent.

The European Research Area has been complemented by what is called an ” innovation union ” where the aim is to strengthen the ability to use research successes to create products and services.

Research and innovation have the ambition to be maximally open, for grants from the whole of society and for researchers from other parts of the world. The research results must also be open.

A collaborative project is about creating an open European “cloud” for the research world.

The research also has the purpose of strengthening Europe’s place in a digital world with another major collaboration, to build supercomputers for fast calculations of mass data. This also includes EU investments in 5G technology, robotics and the “Internet-of-Things.”


During the 2000’s, the EU has made major investments in space through three main programs:
Copernicus – Earth observation.
Galileo – satellite for civilian use of location.
EGNOS – an encrypted system used by blue light personnel such as police, military, ambulances, and so on.

Space has become increasingly interesting with the advent of the Internet and European satellites have become indispensable for meteorologists, for tracking forest fires or floods, for farmers, in traffic planning, and so on. Galileo is also an alternative to the US (military) GPS system.

Between 2014 and 2020, the EU will spend € 12 billion in space.

In 2017, the EU adopted a space strategy with the goals of optimizing the benefits to society, strengthening the European space industry, strengthening Europe’s independent access to space and the EU becoming a global player.

Culture, creativity and sports

In the field of culture, the EU can only support and coordinate certain actions. The aim of cultural policy is to preserve diversity and the common European cultural heritage and to create employment.

For the years 2014–2020, there is a budget of EUR 1.46 billion. Just over 30 percent goes to supporting cultural collaborations across borders, networks and the Capital of Culture (see below), including translating books from small languages.

13 percent is set aside to finance projects in the cultural and creative sector. More than half of the budget is allocated to European films, television programs and computer games. There is also another fund which is used, among other things, to preserve and disseminate the European cultural heritage. The Europeana platform has digitized archives, libraries and museums so that anyone who wants to can view close to 60,000 art treasures or museum objects.

The “European Capital of Culture” is appointed annually and is now always two. In 2014, Umeå was Europe’s Capital of Culture together with Latvian Riga. In 2018, it was Valetta in Malta and Leeuwarden in the Netherlands.

In 2018, a new EU program “Music Moves Europé” was launched to spread European music.

Television falls mainly under the internal market. As transmissions cross borders and individual countries can no longer technically protect themselves against unwanted content, the EU has decided on common rules. The TV directive prohibits pornography, racism, incitement against ethnic groups, etc.

The directive contains a controversial rule that states that at least half of the programs broadcast by EU countries’ TV channels must be produced in Europe. The rule came about as an attempt to slow down the massive influx of American television programs.


In the autumn of 2018, the EU decided to extend the rules for content in TV broadcasts (limited advertising, pornography, etc.) to all digital platforms because it is there instead of via traditional TV that many, especially children and young people, watch movies and series. The requirement for European content will be 30 percent, which then also applies to platforms such as Netflix, Visat, Youtube and FacebookEU, etc. The new rules will enter into force no earlier than the winter of 2020.

In 2018, the EU will also regulate copyright in a digital world with the aim of protecting the works of authors, journalists and photographers on the Internet. The new rules met with much criticism for forcing censorship (requirement to investigate legal copyright for everything uploaded to the web) and restricting creativity.


The 2009 Lisbon Treaty introduced a European dimension of sport and sport in EU cooperation, which is expressed in four-year work plans for networking and information exchange. It is primarily about disseminating health-promoting benefits of sports, counteracting doping and settled matches and following up on the economic aspects of sports.

EU Research and Culture