European Commissioner for Culture Androulla Vassiliou has been in Berlin presenting the Commission’s proposal for the new “Creative Europe” programme.

The Commission has proposed a budget of €1.8 billion over the 2014-2020 period for Creative Europe. That’s a 37% increase on the 2007 to 2013 budget. €900 million of this will be devoted to the EU’s “MEDIA” arm, which supports the European film industry.

The issue now is whether European finance ministers will agree to the proposals. “I think there will be no problem,” Vassiliou said.

“This sector contributes very substantially to growth and jobs,” Commissioner Vassiliou noted. She said that 4.5% of EU GDP was “from culture.” Around 4% of EU employment is directly tied to the cultural industries. “Even higher than the car industry or the plastic industry,” the Commissioner said.

While in Berlin, Vassiliou met the EFP Shooting Stars and also attended the co-production market.

“Co-production is something we want to encourage,” the Commissioner said. “Films are getting more expensive to produce and it’s good to join forces. It is also good for diversity. If you have a film which is coproduced by different people in different countries, then this film has a good chance to be screened in many countries.”

Head of MEDIA Aviva Silver was also in Berlin and she added, “In terms of the overall timing, we very much hope to have the details in terms of the financial envelope to enable to launch the Programme in the second half of next year.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina is expected to become a member of the MEDIA Programme 2007 very shortly. The country has already been provisionally been included.

Silver also addressed the issue of the UK’s recent decision not to rejoin the Council of Europe’s coproduction fund, Eurimages (which is not part of MEDIA).

Last month, when the UK Government Film Policy Review published its 56 recommendations for the British film industry, the Review panel stated that “rejoining Eurimages at this point could not be seen as a priority.”

“The bottom line is that it would help their films penetrate in Europe to be able to have more coproductions,” Silver said this week. “Their (the UK Government’s) argument is in part that in any event, the UK is often the minority coproducer in Eurimages-supported production but that is not always the case.”