European Commission crosses Red Lines

12.6.2013

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Organisations of the european audiovsiual industry express their deep concern and dismay at recent proposals made by EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht on the subject of audiovisual services and the negotiation mandate for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the US (TTIP).
In a purely tactical move the European Commission has recently proposed the introduction of so called ”red lines” into the negotiating mandate laying down certain parameters allegedly safeguarding Europe's audiovisual sector. However, with this proposal, European audiovisual policy would clearly
be included in the 'negotiation mass'. This 'exclusion through inclusion' approach would greatly put at risk autonomous regulation in Europe.
What is really at stake is Europe's capacity to straddle the transition to the digital economy and an online market place which today is completely dominated by American giants such as Google, Amazon, Netflix, Apple iTunes. This encompasses a wide range of policy fields.
With the inclusion of audiovisual services in the negotiation, the European Commission is clearly expressing its intention to make commitments for online audiovisual services in the TTIP. On 23 May 2013, Trade Commissioner De Gucht stated to the European Parliament: ”No one will touch the
existing quotas or the necessary policy space to adjust our policy in view of the technological change; but, on the other hand, we do not believe there could be a serious argument in favour of increasing such space, for example by reserving the right to forbid foreign movies and TV programmes, for example, on video-on-demand services.”
Among the 12 signatories: FERA (Federation of European Film Directors), EPC (European Producers Club), EUROPAS CINEMAS, EBU (European Broadcasting Union), CICAE (Confédération Internationale des Cinémas d'Art et d'Essai)


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