The proposed Creative Europe programme reached “an important milestone” yesterday (26 Nov) after a decision taken by the EU’s 27 ministers of culture at a meeting in Brussels of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport (EYCS) Council under the chairmanship of Cyprus’ Minister for Education & Culture George Demosthenous.

The ministers agreed to adopt a second so-called partial general approach on Creative Europe’s proposed loan guarantee facility during an afternoon session on audiovisual issues.

The Cypriot Presidency of the Council of the European Union said the agreement “constitutes an important milestone towards finalising the whole package” for a programme with a budget of $2.3m (€1.8bn) for 2014-2020.

A first partial general approach had already been reached on the Commission’s regulation at the ECYS Council last May, but this had not included provisions with budgetary implications as legislators were waiting for a finalisation of the negotiations for the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework for the seven-year period from 2014.

In an opening statement, Minister Demosthenous said that the Cypriot Presidency had been involved in making “a number of changes and improvements” to the text proposed by the Commission in order to make the provisions “more balanced, more explicit and clearer” and “to ensure geographical balance and a balanced sectoral reepresentation, which is very important in particular for smaller member states and member states with restricted linguistic areas.”

“Furthermore, we have clarified the structure and tasks of the guarantee facility as well as the role of each stakeholder such as financial intermediaries, capacity building-providers, the European Investment Fund and the Commission,” Demosthenous revealed

Clarifications

In her reply, EC Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou acknowledged the “very balanced compromise text that brings a number of welcome clarifications”.

However, she indicated that, as with the partial agreement reached in May, she would also be obliged here to “enter a formal reservation pending work at the European Parliament.”

Vassiliou explained that her reservation would also “record in particular our disagreement about excessively detailed controls in relation to the financial facility.”

Nevertheless, she stressed her “confidence that we can achieve an early compromise with the legislators to the ultimate benefit of the European cultural and creative sectors”.