Cultural diversity

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"Coup d'œil sur l'éducation et la culture" dans l’Union européenne et mise en œuvre d'un programme de soutien au secteur audiovisuel européen

Lettre d’information bimestrielle de la Direction générale de l’éducation et de la culture, no 19, juillet 2004

The audiovisual sector is a vector for expressing European culture and citizenship and plays a key role in the construction of a European identity, notably among young people. Community support for the sector is part of a strategy to provide Europeans with more choice., As this newsletter reports, EU leaders finally agreed the text of a constitutional treaty, or European Constitution, on 18 June. The document sets out to streamline decision-making and clarify the powers and the purposes of the European Union. It will not enter into force until all 25 EU countries have ratified it. In the text of the treaty, half a dozen EU powers are "exclusive competences", where the Member States have agreed to act only through the EU and not to legislate at national level. Some are "shared competences", to which the Constitution adds new areas.

Culture is one of many sectors in which EU decisions would be taken by qualified majority voting, requiring a 55 % majority of Member States representing a 65 % majority of the population of the European Union. Designed to improve EU decision-making, this move towards more qualified majority voting is one of the principal features of the Constitution. International trade deals in cultural goods and services, however, would still require unanimity.

As for support for the European audiovisual sector, MEDIA 2007 following on from the current MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training programmes with the principal aims of: Preserving and promoting Europe’s cultural diversity and cinematic/audiovisual heritage, ensuring public access to this heritage and encouraging dialogue between cultures; increasing the circulation of European films and other audiovisual productions, both inside and outside the EU; and strengthening the commercial performance of the European audiovisual sector in an open and competitive market context. These are the main points that emerge from the European Parliament and Council proposal on the implementation of a support program for the European audiovisual sector. (MEDIA 2007). (Available in French and English) [70]