The world of culture challenged by controlling billions of euros in aid received

Money flows freely, but its flow requires controls. This is, in essence, the message that the Court of Auditors wanted to send by publishing, Wednesday, September 29, three “Flash audits” on the support measures granted by the Ministry of Culture since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic. If the magistrates recognize that these measures are ” required “ given the scale of the health crisis which has shut down almost the entire cultural sector, they deplore the lack of “Evaluation devices”.

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According to the Court, some 2 billion euros were mobilized by the ministry in 2020 and in the first half of 2021 (outside the general budget) to save companies in the three sectors audited: 823 million for live performances, 710 million for heritage and 453 million for cinema and audiovisual. Sums to which have been added the “white year” granted to intermittent entertainment workers, as well as state compensation schemes (partial unemployment, guarantee fund, etc.). By themselves, the companies of the 7e art and television, for example, benefited from 1.2 billion euros in transversal measures.

“The role of the ministry was essential during the crisis”, applaud the magistrates of Rue Cambon, insisting on the responsiveness of the administration from the first confinement. The situation was, it is true, untenable for a sector almost completely shut down between March 2020 and May 2021. It was nothing less than“Avoid bankruptcy in a logic of flow from the State to the operators and the beneficiaries”, summarizes the Court. The magistrates calculated that the crisis caused the loss of 254 million euros in 2020 to museums and monuments under the jurisdiction of the State, including 79.3 million just for the Louvre. In the cinema, the turnover of distributors fell by 70%.

But if the ministry of culture has, “In a counter logic”, contained the fire that threatened the cultural sector, he “Has not provided for an ex post evaluation of the allocation of this aid and its effectiveness”, regrets the Court, severe on the way in which all this money was distributed. In their audit on the heritage, the magistrates are moved as well as “The amounts allocated and the distribution of credits were determined more by political arbitrations based on the expression of needs than by a preliminary macroeconomic and sectoral analysis”.

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“A relative concentration of aid”

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