According to journalist Paule Gonzales, European Commission(EC), the guardian of the unrestricted circulation of people and capital between EU member states, is constantly questioning the “eurocompatibility ” of national assistance systems. The EU branches responsible for competition and the domestic market commissioned a study on the forms of support available to the film industry in 25 countries of the Union. The study has raised concern in the European film community (even though nothing is expected to change until 2008), because it will determine whether or not most funding for european film industry is legal.
In most European countries, the forms of assistance—without which few movies would see the light of day—are contingent upon the film being made in the country or region that grants this vital additional support. And EC intends to take specific aim at this issue. The idea is that support would be considered legal provided that it does not prevent films from being made anywhere else within the EU. According to the journalist, this could eliminate the national and regional economic and industrial incentives to finance the cinema. In France, for example, the territorialization of support and the implementation of a regional funding and tax credit system apparently made it possible to relocate shoot locations for one out of every two movies and one out of every three TV fiction series within the space of two years.
According to French cinema professionals, notably Mr. Thierry de Segonzac, who represents technical professionals, “some twenty-odd movies would not have been made without this support.” He also feels that “abolishing this assistance could result in 30% of French productions (some 60 movies) moving abroad.” He suggests that in the name of the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the two EC branches in charge of the issue “be taken off the cultural industries file” in order to protect it.