Czech President Vaclav Klaushas vetoed an amendment that would have tripled the size of his country's statefilm fund. The bill now returns to the lower house, which is likely to overridethe president's veto with a simple majority later this month.

Klaus returned the amendmentto the lower house of parliament May 12, saying that it amounted to unfairsupport for a commercial enterprise and gave preferential support for onebranch of the arts. A vocal skeptic of the European Union, Klaus also objectedto language in the bill that encouraged films that promote a European identity.

Authors of the bill soughtto triple the size of the State Fund for the Support and Development of CzechCinematography from $3m to at least $9.6m annually. Producers support themeasure as it would mean more Czech films with higher budgets and would alsoallow Czech producers to become equal partners in European co-productions.

Czech broadcasters, exhibitorsand rental shop operators object to the measure as the increase in funds wouldrequire higher contributions from them.

The veto came just daysafter the Culture Ministry released details of an Olsberg SPI study of theeconomic effect the film industry has on the Czech economy. The studyrecommends greater state support for the local industry, including a 12.5% taxrebate for productions filmed in the Czech Republic.

Despite the current supportin parliament, Klaus's stance presents a hurdle for producers who are lobbyingto turn the study's recommendations into law. The country goes to the polls ingeneral elections in June, but Klaus's current five-year term does not expireuntil 2008, when he is eligible for re-election by parliament.