Belgian MEP Luckas Vander Taelen has been assigned to draw up a parliamentary report looking at the European Union's policy towards film, as part of a broader debate on Europe's future audiovisual policy.

"Europe's policy towards film has so far been far from ambitious," said Vander Taelen. "Media Plus receives a Euros400m budget for five years. That's peanuts compared to what the tobacco growers get."

He also feels that Europe should be able to produce its own big-budget features, and hopes that the European Investment Bank's new venture capital fund will help to achieve this.

"Why is it for instance impossible for Paul Verhoeven to make Hollow Man in Europe' Or why can't we produce our own Saving Private Ryan or American Beauty' Most countries in Europe have well-oiled film structures. But what we really need is a pan-European film structure - Hollywood beats Europe in terms of industrial quality and that's something we need to work on."

In the next six months, Vander Taelen will meet with major players in all of the EU's 15 member states, as well as the countries that are scheduled to join the Union in a few year's time. "I want to find out which theoretical and practical difficulties are standing in the way of a truly pan-European cinema culture," Vander Taelen said.