Members of the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity have expressed their “deep concern regarding the inclusion of audiovisual and cultural services in the Canada–European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) currently being negotiated.” Their website reports:
“By seeking to combine culture and trade in this agreement and invoking interests that threaten certain cultural services, despite knowing that Canada favors sweeping cultural exemptions, the Commission is underscoring its desire to use culture and creation as bargaining chips in these negotiations in order to promote other economic sectors.
The French Coalition for Cultural Diversity is appalled at the attitude of European negotiators. They have overstepped their mandate and are compromising the European Union’s commitment to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which recognizes the distinctive nature of cultural goods and services and states that they cannot be treated as mere bargaining tools.
The French Coalition therefore calls on the European Union—which for years has consistently stressed its desire to play an active role in the implementation of the UNESCO Convention—to respect its commitments to culture and hold true to its convictions.
As the Coalition noted at negotiations surrounding the Protocol on Cultural Cooperation annexed to the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Korea, it is vital that the E.U. adopt an external policy that draws a clear distinction between cultural and trade negotiations.
The French Coalition also calls on the French authorities—who have played an exemplary role in promoting the diversity of cultural expressions and who, during Québec premier Jean Charest’s recent visit to France, advocated protecting the diversity of cultural expressions in this agreement—to be firm with the European Commission and the 26 other Member States with regard to keeping audiovisual and cultural services out of CETA.”
You can read the letter the French Coalition sent to French President Nicolas Sarkozy on its website.