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EU rethinks Media program

European Commission unveils plans for 'creative Europe'

BRUSSELS — Plans to incorporate Europe’s Media program into a broader framework of support for the cultural and creative industries have been confirmed by the European Commission.

Proposals for this “creative Europe” program will be presented to decision-makers in the EU governments and the European Parliament toward the end of the year.

Jan Truszczynski, who heads the Commission department in charge of Media, told a Brussels hearing Friday that he appreciated film industry concerns that this would weaken the program, which aids the development and distribution of films and other audiovisual products.

“I’m 100% confident that if we move further toward the creation of such a large creative Europe program, the Media part of it — a distinct strand within the program as we see it — will not suffer at all. On the contrary it is bound to obtain greater benefits,” he said.

Synergies with other EU cultural programs would be one advantage, particularly around digital technologies. In strategic terms, there would also be a stronger connection with EU policy on economic growth and job creation.

Rumors that the Media program faced budget cuts or a merger with other programs resulted in vocal industry campaign in February against any change.

French filmmakers’ association ARP, one of the campaign’s prime movers, said that it understood the potential benefits, but remained concerned about the Media program’s freedom to act.

“(Cinema) is a very complex and competitive business compared with the other arts, which is why we want complete autonomy,” said ARP topper Radu Mihaileanu, attending the hearing.