EC Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou denied ‘unofficial rumours’ that the MEDIA brand would disappear after 2013 when she appeared at a session of the European Parliament’s Committee for Culture and Education on Tuesday afternoon (June 19).
Having come “in a spirit of partnership” for an exchange of views about the state of play for the proposed Erasmus for All and Creative Europe programmes, Vassiliou was asked by Italian MEP Silvia Costa to comment on the future of MEDIA as a brand in the proposed framework programme,
“I would like a real guarantee that MEDIA remains a recognisable separate brand,” Costa said. “In talks we have had here and elsewhere, it has been said unofficially by people in the Commission that, in reality, after 2014 the MEDIA brand will disappear. I think that would be a mistake.”
However, Vassiliou vigorously countered that the MEDIA Programme would be strengthened under the new framework of Creative Europe and exist as a separate strand alongside the one for Culture. “This is clear,” she maintained in the direction of Costa, “so don’t make things which are clear more complicated!”
Turning to the financing of the proposed Creative Europe programme, German MEP Helga Trüpel asked the Commissioner what she would do if the net payers in the European Council achieved their goal of having the budget for the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) reduced by 10% for 2014-2020.
Trüpel wanted to know whether the funding for the Culture strand would be guaranteed and the € 200m loan guarantee facility be cut in the case of a lower MFF budget.
In her response, Vassiliou declared: “If my budget is cut to such an extent that I will not be able to cope, I will prefer to leave that [the guarantee facility] aside and not touch the Culture and MEDIA Programmes.”
In her introductory speech to the MEPs, Vassiliou had said that some people were arguing for a more detailed legal base for Creative Europe: “But again we need to recognise that the creative sectors and the world in which they operate are changing rapidly and profoundly. Innovation cannot be predicted, and we should not try to predict in detail where it will lead during the seven-year life of the programme; not in the legal base.”
“YouTube and Facebook have dramatically changed the way audio-visual content is distributed and accessed,” she explained. “They did not even exist when the current MEDIA programme was designed. This is why we propose a simple, flexible legal base that allows for adjustments during the lifespan of the programme.”