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From mobility of professionals in the arts and culture sector to patchwork-workers of Europe

Challenges and problems on mobility of cultural actors and "patchwork workers". Recommendations of the Task Force Cross-Border Culture of the Association of European Border Regions (T4CBC-AEBR) to the Committee of the Regions, the European Commission and the European Member States.

Mobility is an integral part of the work and regular practice of artists and cultural actors. In order to find new assignments, create networks and partnerships, develop their audience, but also to promote culture, the work of cultural actors often cannot remain limited to one country. Mobility can therefore be regarded as indispensable for the professional survival of cultural practitioners.

However, artists working in a cross-border or transnational context are often confronted with a multitude of obstacles that complicate or even limit their work mobility.

These include, for example, the artist's statute, which varies from country to country but has a decisive influence on the artists' income. Other important aspects concern social security issues, but also the different tax rules of the EU member states, which lead to a high tax burden.

In addition, there are special rules that place artists and creatives at a severe disadvantage. Since 1963, Art. 17 of the OECD Model Tax Convention has led to situations of unequal treatment and double taxation of artists and athletes.

In order to ensure cultural diversity and productive transnational and cultural exchange, it is therefore essential to improve the working conditions of artists and to take their particular working conditions into account.

In addition, the working conditions of a large number of artists are characterised by short stays in various countries, short-term employment contracts and the diversity of cultural sectors and artistic activities covered by their work.

With regard to the type of contracts, the situation of artists is not isolated: many active people work as "patchwork workers": partly freelance, partly employed or have only temporary multiple contracts, permanent part-time contracts or are posted workers or often have to work in different countries, etc. and thus find themselves in the same situation as many artists.

This situation was analysed in the last colloquiums of the AEBR Cross-Border Culture Task Force and leads to the following recommendations.