Agencies offer Declaration in support of MEDIA after Berlinale meeting.

Europe’s national film agencies collected within European Film Agency Directors (EFADs) have issued a Berlin Common Declaration on the future of the European Union’s MEDIA Programme after meeting during the Berlinale this week.

The group, which includes France’s CNC, Germany’s Federal Film Board (FFA), Greek Film Centre and the Danish Film Institute, said in the Declaration that they were “deeply concerned with the prospect of a possible merger of the MEDIA Programme with other Community programmes” and feared that “the Programme would lose both its clear and specific focus on Europe’s audio-visual industries and its underpinning financial security.”

“This would represent a major threat to the European audiovisual sector and would endanger the pursuit of the Programme’s main objectives: the circulation of a diversity of European works and the reinforcement of the competitiveness of the European audiovisual sector” continued the Declaration.

“The MEDIA Programme is at the heart of the European project as well as a vector of the European core values of openness, tolerance and diversity’” the agency directors noted.

They acknowledged “the high degree of budgetary constraint” that the European Commission and European member States are facing, but nevertheless called on European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and on Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, “to preserve the specificity and strengths of the MEDIA Programme by maintaining its autonomy and providing it with the appropriate budget which will enable it to work efficiently and effectively.”

This week also saw Germany’s State Minister for Culture Bernd Neumann meeting in Berlin with France’s Minister for Culture and Communication to speak about the future of the MEDIA Programme and German-French film relations.