Slovenia has become the seventh Central and East European country to become a member of the European Union's MEDIA Programme following Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The association treaty, which is back dated to January 1 2003, was signed on March 25 and sees Slovenia committing an annual financial contribution of Euros260,000 to the MEDIA budget for 2003-2005. The European Commission's PHARE Programme for the EU enlargement will meet half of the contribution for this first year.

The news comes on the eve of the first industry 'get-together' between Austrian and Slovenian media professionals, which will be held during the Diagonale festival in Graz on Friday (March 28).

Representatives from the Austrian Film Instiute (OFI), Slovenian Film Fund and broadcasters ORF and RTV-Slovenija will discuss the policy measures needed for an intensifying of cross-border cooperation. Officials from the Vienna Film Fund, Location Austria, Slovenia's Ministry for Culture and the two countries' Eurimage representatives will look at Austria and Slovenia's positioning in the European market.

In addition, as part of its strategy of looking over borders, the Diagonale has been showing Igor Sterk's Ljubljana and Maja Weiss' documentary The Road Of Fraternity And Unity to showcase the Portoroz Festival of Slovenian Cinema.