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Compromise now possibly on the cards for audiovisual sector in EU-US talks

France may be stopped from using its veto to stop free-trade talks beginning soon with the US.

Until now, France’s Trade Minister Nicole Bricq was planning to vote against the negotiating mandate if audiovisual services were not excluded from the negotiations.

Speaking to reporters as he arrived at the Council of Trade Ministers in Luxembourg this morning, Richard Burton [pictured], Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, who is chairing the talks, said: “Obviously we fully realize that the audiovisual sector which is major concern to France is a hugely sensitive area. Already within the mandate, we have sought to develop a compromise that will give reassurance and protection to the sector, but we will continue to discuss in the course of the day any remaining concerns, and, as a presidency, hope to find common ground amongst member states and with the Commission.”

“So, we have moved a considerable distance and hopefully we have narrowed the area of difference and that we will be able to find some compromise in that ground,” Burton said.

Meanwhile, Alexander Stubb, Finland’s Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, added that he had “a lot of sympathies for the French sensitivities in this particular case and I hope that we will find a solution which satisfy our French friends as well.”

And Anne Ruth Herkes, State Secretary at Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs, pointed out that the Commission had made “some very good proposals for compromise in the last few days and hours. We are optimistic that a good compromise can be found that might allow the audiovisual sector to be included in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States.”


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