Countries are set to have partial participation in Creative Europe’s MEDIA sub-programme.

Moldova and Ukraine are set to have partial participation in Creative Europe’s MEDIA sub-programme from 2015.

Organisations from the two countries will be able to participate in training, festivals, audience development and market access activities, but the final selection of projects will be dependent on the signing and notification of an agreement with the European Commission (EC) before the award decisions for the projects.

At the same time, cultural and creative organisations from the two countries are likely to be able to apply to all sections of Creative Europe’s Culture sub-programme.

Moldova and Ukraine join Georgia and Turkey who also have partial access to activities of the MEDIA sub-programme.

Meanwhile, Creative Europe’s overall budget for 2015 is expected to be $207.2m (€168.1m), made up of $201.2m (€163.3m) from the European Union’s 28 member states and $5.9m (€4.8m) from the EFTA/European Economic Area states (such as Norway and Iceland).

According to the EC’s revised annual work programme for Creative Europe, the financial contribution from third countries outside of the EU and the EFTA/EEA will depend on the finalisation of negotiations and the formalisation of participation in Creative Europe.

In the coming year, $128.8m (€104.5m) and $66.9m (€54.3m) will be allocated to the MEDIA and Culture sub-programmes, respectively, with $11.41m (€9.26m) being earmarked for the so-called cross-sectoral strand encompassing the Creative Europe Desks, the EC’s contribution to Strasbourrg-based European Audiovisual Observatory, and preparations for the Cultural and Creative Sector Guarantee Facility, among others.

The largest single chunk of the funds in the MEDIA sub-programme - $27.68m (€22.45m) - will be channelled into the Cinema Automatic Scheme for supporting distribution of non-national European films, plus $9.8m (€8m) for the Cinema Selective Scheme and $3.2m (€2.6m) for backing sales agents of European films.

$21.5m (€17.5m) will be ploughed into the development of single project and slate funding, while $14.5m (€11.8m) has been reserved for supporting television programming of European works and $12.8m (€10.4m) is earmarked for cinema networks.

Around 80 training initiatives will have a budget of $8.99m (€7.3m) at their disposal, of which a maximum of 20% can be awarded to international actions.

In addition, $5.11m (€4.15m) is being made available for online distribution and $2.3m (€1.9m) for audience development, while $1.23m (€1m) is allocated next year for preparing the Cultural and Creative Sector Guarantee Facility which is begin operations in 2016.

Financial instrument

The implementation of this new financial instrument with the two priorities of providing loan guarantees and capacity building will be entrusted to the European Investment Fund after the signature of a delegation agreement due in the first quarter of 2015.

8.39% of the Creative Europe’s budget for the 2014-2020 – i.e. $149m (€121m) – is being made available for the Facility which is expected to have a projected leverage of x5.7, resulting in approximately $863m (€700m) in affordable lending for the cultural and creative sectors.

Up to 10% of the Facility’s total budget may be earmarked for the capacity building scheme where expertise will be provided to financial intermediaries in order to increase their understanding of the cultural and creative sectors so that they can evaluate the risks associated with cultural and creative projects.

Swiss hopes

Meanwhile, there are growing hopes that talks will resume soon between the European Union and Switzerland on the Confederation joining Creative Europe.

A Council decision was passed by the EU ministers attending the Economic and Financial Affairs Council last month authorising the opening of negotiations with Switzerland on membership of Creative Europe.

Switzerland had been blocked from participation in the new framework programme after last February’s anti-immigration vote.

Circulation of European films

Improving the state of distribution of European films, in particular in the digital environment, was placed on the agenda of the new Work Plan for Culture for 2015-2018 as adopted by the EU’s Culture Ministers at their Council meeting in Brussels last week.

The Work Plan’s four key priorities covered accessible and inclusive culture; cultural heritage; creative economy and innovation; and the promotion of cultural diversity.

According to the conclusions on the Work Plan, any proposals for improving circulation of European films in the European market would draw on the first results of the “structured dialogue” within the planned European Film Forum in 2016.