European ministers welcome the new directive on audiovisual media
by Thierry Leclercq
- Culture and Audiovisual ministers have welcomed proposals to revise the Audiovisual Media Services Directive
To the great satisfaction of Commissioner Oettinger, on Tuesday, Culture and Audiovisual ministers welcomed proposals to revise the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD – see our report). “There are no fundamental divergences in opinion within the Council, even though some points, such as the issue of quotas, are more controversial than others,” explained Dutch minister Jet Bussemaker, who chaired the debate.
“It’s encouraging to see so much agreement,” noted the European Commission, which believes that “the proposal on quotas was balanced”. To recall, this keeps a minimum proportion of 50% of European programmes on traditional television stations whilst introducing a quota of 20% for video-on-demand platforms. This option satisfies countries such as Belgium and Poland, and could be more ambitious in the eyes of France and Greece, but Nordic countries such as Sweden, Finland and Denmark are more reluctant to embrace it, as supporters of “more user-friendly, simple and modern solutions”.
The Cypriot delegation declared itself in favour of “positive discrimination” towards small countries like Croatia, with quotas that promote cultural and linguistic diversity in Europe. The Portuguese, Italian and Spanish ministers also insisted on the importance of financial support for creation and co-production, which “could establish European cinema as a brand”.
The German minister was pleased to see that the country of origin principle had been kept – a station that is recognised in one Member State may move freely around the EU – as a pillar of the Directive, giving operators necessary legal security. Very enthusiastic, the prime minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bethel, even alluded to an “audiovisual Schengen” which would allow European viewers to “enjoy a rich and diverse offering”.
The Dutch minister nonetheless acknowledged that they “still had plenty to do” to come to a successful conclusion for the text, as she announced that the work of the ad hoc Council group would begin at the beginning of next month. The subject will be one of the priorities for the Slovak Presidency in the second half of this year.
(Translated from French)