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France retreats on quota front

Though French officials say they will fight on to impose stricter quotas on non-European Union TV programs, the prospect of tighter limits on the number of Hollywood productions shown on Euro TV appeared ever more unlikely last week.

With its EU partners strongly opposed to a plan to strengthen quotas on film imports, France, in the last 10 days of its six-month EU presidency, gave the plan a low profile at a meeting of EU culture ministers.

Pushing plan

Paris had called the Luxembourg meeting in a bid to push through its cherished plan, originally billed as one of the central planks of its EU presidency.

Giving up

But with their showcase Cannes summit approaching, French reps seemed to have given up hope.

Diplomats said Germany told the meeting it could not agree to a plan to pour extra funds into the film industry under the planned five-year Media II program if the stronger quotas went ahead.

The ministers from Britain and Netherlands backed Germany’s line.

Substantial subsidy

The 15 ministers did, however, agree on a $412 million package to subsidize the European film industry.

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