Words are not enough - European cinema welcomes Commission support & calls for formal exclusion of audiovisual from negotiation mandate

Eurocinema, Europa Cinemas, EuropaDistribution, Europa International, FIAD, SAA and UNIC welcome Commissioner De Gucht’s commitment to maintaining Europe’s cultural diversity and call for him to guarantee this formally in the negotiating mandate.

The organisations, representing European producers, cinemas, distributors, sales agents and authors, call on the European Commission to back up its statement of support for cultural diversity by clarifying the negotiation mandate for the EU-US trade agreement.  Commissioner de Gucht’s declaration of support, while welcome, does not take audiovisual of the negotiating table.  If the Commission’s commitment is as strong as Commissioner de Gucht’s words, then the European Commission should formally exclude audiovisual, including for online, from the negotiation mandate.

As Europe’s audiovisual and cinema industries adapt themselves to the digital age, the European Commission must ensure that Europe is able to develop its own presence in the online market for audiovisual services.  To open up audiovisual services through the trade agreement risks stunting that development and leaving the path for other, non-European operators to dominate.

The aforementioned organisations underline that the European Commission will, as enshrined in the European Treaty, need the unanimous support of the Council to be able to approve the negotiation mandate.  Within 24 hours over 1,000 European citizens have signed a petition put forward by 80 renowned film-makers from across Europe and beyond.  The petition calls for cultural diversity to be guaranteed ahead of the negotiations.