Upwards of Euros500m of new loans will be made available to Europe's audiovisual industries under a new scheme launched Tuesday (Dec 19) by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB).
"This financial package is intended to improve the competitivity of the industry and to favour the development of European audiovisual content," said Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for culture and education, at a press conference in Luxembourg.
The scheme, baptised "i2i audiovisual", will tap into the Euros1bn of extra funding granted to the EIB after the Lisbon summit meeting in March. It was the initiative of Reding and her Christian Democrat political ally Philippe Maystadt, president of the EIB (ScreenDaily, Nov 15; Nov 30).
Detailing the proposals, Reding and Maystadt said that financial support will be available in four different categories:
This action, which could, in appropriate cases, take the form of structured funds with terms of repayment partly linked to the success of the beneficiary projects, is designed to offset certain industrial weaknesses in the sector, in the context of global competition, and to create activities which will give a fillip to many small and medium enterprises that do sub-contracting work for these groups.
In a statement the EC said: "estimates, based on the first operations currently under evaluation, suggest that the initial volume of EIB Group funding should be in excess of half a billion Euros."
The first venture capital pool, a Finnish operation entitled "Venture capital for creative industries", was today signed by the EIB's funding arm, EIF, in the presence of Maystadt and Reding.