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Serbia smooths its path towards Creative Europe's MEDIA


- After being the first non-European Union country to participate in the programme, Serbia is setting off down the road towards its probable membership in 2015

Serbia smooths its path towards Creative Europe's MEDIA
Ivan Tasovac and Androulla Vassiliou, signing the agreement in Brussels on 19 June

Serbia was the first non-European Union country to sign up to and participate in the new Creative Europe Programme, the European Commission’s seven-year funding programme for the cultural and creative sectors, combining the European Commission’s existing Culture and MEDIA Programmes and expected to benefit over 300,000 cultural professionals and reach 100 million European citizens. After the Minister for Culture and Information, Ivan Tasovac, signed the agreement on 19 June with European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou, the country joined the scheme, which provides grants for transnational cooperation projects involving organisations in the cultural and creative sectors.

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Nonetheless, all is not said and done for the country just yet. Serbia is also expected to join Creative Europe's MEDIA sub-programme, which has not yet happened, after first bringing its audiovisual legislation into line with EU law. At a panel at Novi Sad's Cinema City International Film Festival (21-28 June), the MEDIA representative in charge of the admission of new member countries, Dag Asbjørnsen, shed some light on what Serbia needs to do in order to reach its goal. The green light from the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) and the European Commission is scheduled for autumn 2014, once the Serbian government meets the legislation requirements. From that point on, new calls from MEDIA could be opened up to Serbian applicants. “Serbia is very important in Europe; it has a lot of connections with all the European audiovisual actors, so there shouldn't be a reason why it shouldn't join the programme,” Asbjørnsen added.

Serbia will thus be able to follow in the footsteps of other ex-Yugoslavian countries, such as EU members Slovenia and Croatia, already in the sub-programme. “Since we joined MEDIA, Croatian production has gone up. We used to produce films with a budget of €20,000, and now we can get to €50,000,” said Croatian producer Siniša Juricic (Producer on the Move 2012 – read the interview), also a panellist.

Although there are still a good number of loose ends to be tied up, such as the presence of a MEDIA desk in the country, Serbia is scheduled to fully join the sub-programme during 2015.

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