The Spanish government has decided to do away with a controversial quota system which requires exhibitors to programme one day of European cinema for every two days of films from other countries.

The quotas will be gradually diminished and rendered invalid over the course of the next five years.

According to Spain's education and culture minister Mariano Rajoy, the dissolution of the quotas is possible because of rising audience interest in Spanish and independent European cinema. Jose Maria Otero, general director of the Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts (ICAA) called the move a "balanced" solution to "an ancient situation which has created tensions."

The dissolution of the screen quotas, which were often sidestepped by exhibitors anyway, has received the support of Spanish film professionals. Writing in newspaper El Mundo, indie distributor Enrique Gonzalez Macho of Alta Films warned: "It won't all be a bed of roses: there are still a lot of questions to be answered: the lack of independent distributors who guarantee commercialisation for all Spanish films, the relations between these distributors and public broadcasters, the penetration of our films in foreign markets and even their more active presence in our own market."