Tuesday

17th Jan 2017

Focus

EU to re-write cinema subsidy rules

  • The European Commission has unveiled plans to revise the rules on public subsidies for film production (Photo: European Commission)

The European Commission on Wednesday (14 March) launched plans to re-writer EU rules on state aid for cinema this year.

Member States across the EU provide around €3bn per year in support for film production, with the funding consisting of grants, loans and tax incentives.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The Commission is proposing to extend the scope of the funding rules to include all phases of production from initial proposal to public release in a bid to increase distribution of European films.

It also attempts to define a "European audiovisual work", with production companies being required to be EU-based, and establishes a points system to calculate whether the majority of the production team are EU residents.

The current rules for film and TV production support schemes state that producers must spend at least 80 percent of the production budget in the territory offering the aid. The Commission paper indicated that member states should be allowed to require up to 100 percent of the funding is spend in the country providing state support. It also wants member states to be able to loosen rules on tax incentives and to promote cross-border availability of films by asking rights holders to release online rights on condition of aid.

However, the Commission has insisted that state aid schemes cannot reserve funding just for their own nationals, nor can they require film companies to be based in the country providing aid or force foreign film-making companies to comply with national labour laws.

The current rules limit state aid for films to 50 percent of the total production costs and forbid member states from earmarking funds for specific film-making activities.

The first Commission paper on European cinema was published in 2001, under EU treaty provisions that allow countries to support cultural activities provide that they do not breach competition and trade in the single market, and was last updated in 2009.

The current state aid rules will expire at the end of 2012. The consultation will be open until June before the EU executive adopts the final communication.

Launching the paper, Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that he wanted to see new guidelines that would be "beneficial both for the entire European audiovisual sector and for European audiences."

Meanwhile, earlier this week the Commission announced €5m in funding for 35 film-related projects from the MEDIA Mundus programme, the EU's programme for the audiovisual industry that looks to increase distribution of European films outside the EU.

Last month two films supported by the MEDIA programme also won awards at the Berlinale International Film Festival. "A Royal Affair" won Silver Bear awards for Best Script and Best Actor, while "L’enfant d’en haut/Sister” received a special Silver Bear award.

Meanwhile, French production company La Petite Reine, which was responsible for this year's Oscar-winning film The Artist has also been a frequent beneficiary.

EU should raise own taxes, says report

A group chaired by former Italian PM and EU commissioner Mario Monti says Brexit should be used to create EU-level levies to depend less on member states contributions, and to abolish member states rebates in the EU budget.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  2. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  3. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  4. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  5. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  6. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  7. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  8. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  9. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  10. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  11. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey
  12. Zero Waste EuropePublic Support Needed to Promote Zero Waste in More Municipalities