Commission européenne, Bruxelles le 16 mars 2004 - 2004/03/16
The European Commission has adopted a Communication that serves as a follow-up to its Communication of September 26, 2001. This new text extends the regime governing State aid to the audiovisual sector until June 30, 2007, and proposes the adoption of a Recommendation of the European Parliament and Council on film heritage. This Communication, which was adopted at the suggestion of Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Education and Culture, in agreement with Mario Monti, Member of the European Commission responsible for Competition, is also the result of several months of consultations with Member States and professionals in the film sector. Hailing this decision, which confirms that “the Europe of cinema exists,” Ms. Reding stated that all members need “to preserve the diversity of these State aid schemes, which have the virtue of being adapted to the particular needs of each country.” She also stressed her determination to support film production in the European Union, “which only represents 30% of the films released in European theatres,” the rest being almost exclusively “made in Hollywood.” She also stated, “We have an obligation to support this area of the cultural sector, which offers enormous potential for growth if we provide it with sufficient aid… Hollywood is not doing much for cultural diversity in Europe.”
Jean-Jacques Aillagon, the French Minister of Culture and Communication, is also pleased that the Commission decided to maintain until 2007 the legal framework it established in 2001, which specifically addresses national systems of subsidies to the film and the audiovisual industry. According to Mr. Aillagon, this decision conveys a positive and open approach to the cultural challenges facing the film sector. He emphasizes that its position has always been one of promoting the consideration of cultural diversity and the specific aspects of creative works in Community policies, and in particular, the issue of competitiveness.
The French Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers (SACD) and the Association de producteurs de cinéma et de télévision (Eurocinéma) welcome the Commission’s decision “to extend specific compatibility criteria for State aid to the film and audiovisual production industry.” The latter, however, plans to remain “vigilant” concerning the details of the study the Commission plans to launch. (Available also in French, English, German)