Spanish-born Lucía Recalde Langarica has been named successor to Xavier Troussard as head of the MEDIA sub-programme for Creative Europe.

Michel Magnier, director of culture and creativity at the European Commission’s DG Education and Culture (EAC), confirmed to ScreenDaily that Recalde Langarica will take up her post on September 1.

Until now, she has been the head of unit for Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at DG EAC in Brussels. Joining the Commission in 1995, she spent ten years at the DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion dealing, inter alia, with the European Social Fund and the implementation of the European Employment Strategy.

In 2006, she joined and later became head of the European Institute of Technology (EIT), the first EU initiative to fully integrate all three sides of the Knowledge Triangle (higher education, research and business).

In another personnel change, MEDIA policy officer Irina Orssich, who was responsible for the design and implementation of the MEDIA Mundus initiative, has moved within the Commission to the F.4 Unit (Knowledge Base) at DG Connect.

Costa to chair Parliament’s Culture Committee

Meanwhile, Italian MEP Silvia Costa has been appointed as Doris Pack’s successor to the Chair of the European Parliament’s (EP) Committee on Culture and Education (CULT).

In 2012, Costa was responsible as rapporteur for drafting the committee’s report on a proposal for the establishment of the Creative Europe programme.

She has now prepared a draft opinion for the EP’s Committee on Budgets on the EU’s 2015 budget considering it “regrettable” that the European Commission has proposed a lower level of so-called commitment appropriations for Creative Europe than in 2014 “despite its important role is supporting the cultural and creative industries”.

A working document on the annual budgetary procedure in the CULT Committee explains that, in the EU Draft Budget  for 2014, the Commission had proposed commitments of €164.2m for the programme’s operational expenditure, a sum that was increased by €2m  by the budgetary authority.

However, the Draft Budget for next year sees the Commission arguing for an allocation of €163.3m, 1.75% less than in 2014.

Costa’s draft opinion will be submitted for discussion at today’s (July 22) first CULT Committee meeting in the new parliamentary term.

Commission tries to allay TTIP fears

As the EU and the US began its sixth round of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) last week, the Commission made another attempt to allay fears throughout Europe – and especially in France and Germany – on the potential impact of TTIP on the cultural sectors.

“The TTIP negotiating mandate the EU Member States gave the European Commission expressly excluded the opening of the European audiovisual sector to competition from US firms,” a Commission background document stated.

“This means the Commission is not allowed to negotiate commitments in the sector and that TTIP will clearly exclude audiovisual services from any provisions granting access to EU markets.“

Turning to the issue of subsidies and culture, which is of particular interest to the European film industry, the document stressed that TTIP “will not affect the ability of the EU or EU Member States to provide financial support to cultural industries”.

“The only legal constraint is that the subsidy complies with EU rules on state aid. TTIP – like all previous trade agreements – will not have any effect on this. Claims that TTIP will limit subsidies to cultural activities are simply wrong.“

Earlier in the month, the European Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht told a business conference in Berlin that it was “out of the question” that TTIP will affect Germany’s rich cultural diversity or policies.

“Neither public support for theatres, operas, film production, or public radio and television, nor Germany’s system of fixed prices for books will be subject of negotiation in TTIP. These issues are simply not being discussed at all in TTIP,” he claimed.

“But when [Germany’s Econmic Affairs and Energy] Minister [Sigmar] Gabriel or my staff publicly say so, we are not heard. For example, when confronted with these assurances, the President of the Akademie der Künste, Mr Staeck openly says on German Television last Friday: ‘I do not trust them’. Let me ask him back: Can he mention a single EU free trade agreement of the past where we have put in danger public support for culture? Why frighten people when the facts speak for themselves?”