Serbia has become the first non-European Union country to sign up and participate in the European Union’s new Creative Europe programme.

The agreement, which was signed today (June 19) in Brussels by Serbia’s Minister for Culture and Information, Ivan Tasovac, and European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, will enable Serbian organisations to benefit from funding under Creative Europe’s Culture sub-programme.

Serbia is also expected to join Creative Europe’s MEDIA sub-programme after bringing its audiovisual legislation into line with EU law.

Under the EU’s previous €400m Culture Programme between 2007-2013, Serbian cultural organisations had received around €1.2 m in grants as project leader for some 40 projects selected for EU funding, and dozens more had benefitted from the programme as co-organisers of projects.

Serbia did not participate in the previous MEDIA Programme, but activities organised under the auspices of the former MEDIA Mundus action line were open to Serbian professionals and audiovisual companies.

European Film Promotion

The Film Center Serbia has been a member of the Hamburg-based pan-European promotion agency European Film Promotion (EFP), with Miroljub Vuckovic serving as Serbia’s EFP representative, since 2009.

For example, producer Jelena Mitrovic of Belgrade-based Bas Celik, whose credits include Srdan Golubovic’s Circles and Srdjan Koljevic’s The Woman With A Broken Nose, was selected by Serbia as one of EFP’s Producers on the Move in Cannes in 2010.

Moreover, this year saw Serbian actor Nikola Rakocevic, who starred in Circles and Dusan Milic’s Travelator, selected for the Shooting Stars showcase of promising new European acting talent presented at the Berlinale.

EFP’s membership also includes other non-EU countries such as Iceland, Norway, Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Georgia, Kosovo and Switzerland.

These countries have been able to participate in this MEDIA co-financed   initiative since membership is open to all countries which are „a member of the Council of Europe or located geographically within the outer borders of Europe as defined by the Council of Europe“, according to EFP’s articles.

Europa Cinemas

In addition, seven Serbian cinemas – including Nis’ two-screen Kupina Bioskop and Belgrade’s Fontana cinema run by Art&Popcorn – are members of the Europa Cinemas network thanks to support from the Council of Europe’s Eurimages support fund. 

Meanwhile, the European Commission has indicated that similar agreements are likely to be concluded „in the near future“ with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Turkey, Georgia and Moldova, while preparatory talks with several other countries are “ongoing“.