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Feb 23, 2015

25 years ago. VAT problems were at the origin to create Pearle*,

Today, 25 years ago the first meeting of Pearle was held in Amsterdam.
What preceded: November 1990, Rupert Rhymes the Chief Executive of SOLT Society of London theatre (then SWET) and Rudolf Wolfensberger, Chief Executive of the Association of Dutch orchestras (then CNO), meet at an international conference on cultural cooperation in Glasgow, Cultural Capital of Europe at the time. The topic which triggered both gentlemen was VAT which they considered as a hindrance to undertake international artistic collaboration.
A half year later, fellows from other performing arts and music associations from France (Syndeac), Germany (DBV), Netherlands (VNT, now NAPK), Sweden (TR, now Svensk Scenkonst) and UK (ABO) meet in Amsterdam to establish Pearle*, a European association bringing together employers associations in the performing arts sector. The main mission of Pearle* is the establishing of a stable environment by supporting sustainability and promotion of the Live performance across Europe. The group realised that they had common interest on a wide scope of issues and that there was a need to exchange information and take joint action addressing supranational institutions in particular the European Institutions.

By the end of 1991 the group had expanded its relations to colleagues from Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Finland, Norway, Spain, Switzerland. The first representative from Central-Europe, the Association of Hungarian Orchestras became a member in 1996, quickly followed by Czech Republic, Estonia and Slovakia.

Whilst, first being hosted by the Dutch performing arts employers association in Amsterdam, the secretariat of the association moved to Brussels towards the end of the 90ies. Since then Pearle* found a home with the Flemish Association of performing arts (then VDP, now oKo). Ten years after its foundation, members decided in 2001 to have a permanent staff in the Brussels office to represent the interests of the live performance sector towards the EU institutions.
Representation was also recognised in the fact that Pearle* was accepted by the European Commission as the sole European sectoral employers association, which allowed to set up in 1998 together with workers representatives (Uni-Mei, FIM and FIA) a European social dialogue committee live performance. A platform for exchange on industrial relations, the committee has undertaken joint initiatives on support to social dialogue during the enlargement process, training and skills, health and safety, mobility, impact of the crisis and reduced public funding.
In the years that followed and until today, Pearle* is represented in various expert groups and civil society platforms set up by the European Commission. Pearle* works together with other sectoral representatives through alliances on topical questions. In addition Pearle* takes part in European projects on specific themes of relevance and interest to its members. Finally, but not least, Pearle* makes the case for the performing arts to the European Commission and any other authorities whose deliberations may affect the work of the Live performance in Europe in many policy areas: consumers, state aid, copyright affairs, public procurement, visa for third-country nationals, taxation, travelling with musical instruments, etcetera.

For twenty five years now Pearle is the leading European association which mainstreamed culture in a wide range of policy areas resulting in specific rules, exemptions or derogations in EU regulatory affairs affecting the live performance sector. During this Commission term, the association will continue to focus on a wide range of priorities spread over numerous policy areas, which aim to give oxygen to this highly labour-intense sector. This should allow audiences, citizens and visitors to continue experiencing and enjoying live performances in Europe and around the globe.

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