On July 17, 2008, the European Commission announced that it had authorized a €7.5 million Sardinian film support scheme until 2010 under the EU state aid rules. The three-year scheme covers all Sardinia's measures to support films of regional and cultural interest. According to the press release, “the Commission found that the scheme is compatible with the cultural derogation of the EC Treaty, as well as with the rules in the 2001 Cinema Communication concerning aid to film production.”
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes commented, “Films reflecting the culture of a European region such as Sardinia would most probably not be sufficiently commercial to be made or distributed without public support. So I am pleased that the Commission is able to approve this scheme, which illustrates the extent to which Sardinians take pride in their rich cultural heritage and which will help to preserve Europe's cultural diversity.”
According to the Commission, the main objective of the Sardinian film support scheme is to support the development, production, and distribution of films which reflect Sardinian culture. The Sardinian film support scheme includes low interest loans to produce feature films, grants for feature film script development and short film production, as well as support for the distribution of feature films and film festivals.
The press release states that the Commission's assessment of the support for film production was based on the state aid rules in the 2001 Cinema Communication (IP/01/1326). For the other types of support, “the Commission assessment referred to the rules in the Cinema Communication in applying the cultural derogation in Article 87.3(d) of the EC Treaty”.
Finally, the press release adds that the non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under case number N60/2008 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.