The European Commission’s (EC) proposed Creative Europe programme has been given “key priority” in Ireland’s Presidency of the European Council for the first six months of 2013.

In the Presidency’s 50-page programme for stability, growth and jobs, the Irish government said that it will “work to advance the Creative Europe project to support the next generation of European artists and cultural professionals”.

In addition, the Irish declared that they plan to “act on the European Council’s call for a modernisation of EU copyright regime to facilitate access to content while upholding intellectual property rights and encouraging creativity and cultural diversity”, and, “in parallel with legislative work, Ministers will have an in-depth debate in May 2013 on the expected Commission Communication on licensing in Europe, as well as on the opportunities and challenges for moving towards a Digital Single Market.”

Securing agreement on MFF

EC President José Manuel Barroso and the College of Commissioners had travelled to Dublin at the end of last week to meet Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Eamon Gilmore and government ministers to discuss Ireland’s Presidency priorities.

In a press conference at Dublin Castle, Barroso stated that he was “hopeful” that the European Council would be able to conclude agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) “in the next few weeks”, while Kenny indicated that he wanted to see agreement on the MFF secured “sooner than later” and, ideally, during February.

Once agreement has been concluded by the Council on the EU’s overall financing for 2014-2020, Creative Europe’s own budget – currently proposed at €1.8bn – could then be brought to vote in the European Parliament.

Trio of Presidencies

Meanwhile, a strategy document prepared by Ireland, Lithuania, and Greece, who are presiding over the European Council until mid-2014, has outlined their priorities on legislative measures for culture and audiovisual media.

The Trio’s aim will be “to strengthen the role of culture during this time of recovery from the crisis.While fully acknowledging the inherent value of culture and its important role in shaping our heritage and identity, the Presidencies will seek to demonstrate culture’s contribution to job creation and growth, mainly through the cultural and creative industries.”

The three presidencies also intend to continue working on some objectives of the EU’s Digital Agenda and, as far as cinema is concerned, will focus on “the digitisation of cinemas and film heritage and on new platforms for distributing audiovisual material and film.”