Enlargement of the European Union's Media Plus programme to include Central and Eastern Europe was high on the agenda at meetings held at the Berlinale this week.

"At least six of the 12 candidate countries could join this year" said the EU's Giorgio Ficcarelli. Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Bulgaria and Cyprus are in the first batch waiting to board. Ficarelli said that professionals from these countries have already been encouraged to apply to the various MEDIA Plus initiatives.

Media Plus information roadshows will be staged at festivals such as Karlovy Vary to acquaint local filmmakers with the audiovisual programme. "We will be planning to set up a MEDIA Desk in each of the new countries and [in terms of eligibility for subsidies] consider the films from these countries as European films", Ficcarelli declared. "Spanish or German distributors, for example, would then also be able to get support for a Czech or Polish film in future".