France won a last-ditch battle this week to maintain its right of veto in a future European Union constitution to protect its film and television industry in international trade negotiations.

The committee drafting the EU's first constitution agreed to add a clause sought by Paris on the so-called "cultural exception" in the document to be completed on Thursday.

According to Reuters, a sentence to be added to the draft charter would say that EU decisions on international trade negotiations on cultural and audiovisual services had to be taken unanimously "when there is a risk of affecting the Union's linguistic and cultural diversity".

The committee is chaired by former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who has made no secret of his support for this French demand.

Paris has battled for more than a decade to maintain quotas on the broadcasting of European films and programmes to protect its cultural sector from the U.S. entertainment industry.

French government representative Pascale Andreani claimed widespread backing among EU governments for Paris' drive to keep a national right of veto on trade decisions involving transport, culture, education and health services.

Under an earlier constitution draft, these issues would have become subject to decision-making by qualified majority voting.