The European Commission’s Cinema Communication on state aid for the film industry will have its publication delayed by “some weeks” after initial plans to unveil the proposed new regulation in October or November.
“I can imagine that the Communication will be published at the very end of the year,” MEDIA unit head Aviva Silver [pictured] told Screen in an exclusive interview on the fringes of this week’s Mipcom market in Cannes.
“Of course, even if it was to be delayed for a couple of weeks into January, the current rules on state aid would still apply,” she said.
Turning to the ongoing discussions about the EC’s proposed Creative Europe framework programme, Silver confirmed that professionals from the cultural and audiovisual sectors would now have two weeks until Oct 23 to lobby their MEPs in the Committee on Culture and Education with alterations and amendments to the draft report on Creative Europe unveiled by MEP Silvia Costa at a committee meeting on Oct 8.
Committee chairperson Doris Pack had pointed out that a final vote would now be put back until December instead of November.
“I think we have to put this into the context of the MFF (Multi-Annual Financial Framework) because until we have agreement on the MFF on November 22/23, it will be difficult to know what the programme budget will be,” Silver explained.
During the presentation of her report on Monday afternoon, Costa said that its drafting “wasn’t an easy task to knock the heads together (of the shadow rapporteurs)” and there were “some difficulties on the way.”
She described the EC proposal for Creative Europe as “an interesting proposal that needs honing” and revealed that she had already conducted “informal meetings” with the Cypriot EU Presidency about the plans for Creative Europe.
In the following discussion, fellow MEPs Jean-Marie Cavada and Doris Pack expressed some misgivings about certain aspects of Costa’s report, with Cavada regretting that the draft report “sticks to generalities” and exclaiming that “we can’t give a blank cheque to the Commission”.
However, Xavier Troussard, acting director for Culture and Media EAC.D at the Commission in Brussels, stressed that the EC was “not asking for a blank cheque” and noted that some of Costa’s proposals went “beyond the scope of the programme”. Among other things, he also warned of the risks of overloading the programme and of rigidity in its implementation.
He also countered criticism from some quarters about the proposed financial instrument by stating that the facility “is not a copy and paste” of the current Media Production Guarantee Fund.
Meanwhile, Silver told Screen that the European Parliament’s budgetary committee had given a green light to maintaining the preparatory action on the circulation of European films in the digital era.
Thus, it is likely that another €2m will be made available in 2013 to support actions to improve films’ transnational circulation by simultaneous or quasi-simultaneous release on distribution platforms and in a number of territories.
She explained the names of the successful applicants for this year’s tranche of €2m would be made known “within the next two weeks”.