Future support for the European Union’s MEDIA Programme was given additional boost at an informal meeting of EU Ministers for Culture held at the Royal Palace in the Hungarian town of Gödöllö this week.

Speaking at a press conference after the informal meeting under the chairmanship of Géza Szöcs [pictured], Hungary’s Minister of State for Culture, EU Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said that the attending culture ministers had “emphasized the need to maintain the two distinct programmes that we have in Europe, the Culture Programme and the MEDIA Programme. This is something, of course, that both myself and President Barroso are also supporting.”

She explained that the conclusions from the informal meeting’s discussions on such issues as culture’s contribution to the European Commission’s Europe 2020 Strategy, copyright legislation and online cultural content would feed into the work of a formal meeting of culture ministers in Brussels in May.

During the press conference she stressed once more the role that culture could play in achieving growth and job creation throughout the European Union: “3-4% of the GDP is a very,very important contribution. It’s more than the car industry, it’s more than the plastic industry, the chemical industry, so this message should be passed on to all policy makers beyond the cultural sector. We should pass this message to finance ministers, prime ministers, presidents who are going to make the decision for our future budgets and financial framework.”

Meanwhile, it has been suggested that the EU’s MEDIA Mundus could be extended to other cultural sectors in the future.

This possible scenario was proposed in the European Commission’s analysis of a public consultation of last year’s Green Paper on “Unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries”.

The analysis reported that “many respondents saw an important role for the EU in intensifying exchanges between cultural and creative industries from different countries as well as in helping Member States to foster networking with third countries. At the same time, a majority of contributors called for easier access to European markets for cultural products coming from developing countries with the aim of providing economic opportunities and therefore satisfactory contractual conditions for cultural players in those countries.”

350 responses had come from public authorities, organizations active at European or national level as well as individuals reacting to the Commission’s initiative to spark a Europe-wide debate on the requirements of a stimulating environment for Europe’s cultural and creative industries.