Culture Council/Audiovisual policy
Financial guarantee at heart of ministers’ discussions
By Ophélie Spanneut | Thursday 10 May 2012
The Danish EU Presidency has planned only to discuss the general orientations of the ‘Europe for Citizens’ and ‘Creative Europe’ (2014-2020) programme, leaving aside the issue of the budget until there is final agreement on the multiannual financial framework. Yet the budget was the subject of part of the exchange of views at the 10 May Culture Council, which mainly focused on the ease of provision of the guarantee. The ‘Creative Europe’ programme, to which the Commission has proposed dedicating €1.8 billion, combines various aid schemes aimed at the culture and audiovisual sectors in Europe. The innovation is the establishment of a financial guarantee mechanism, which will allow small cultural entities to receive bank loans. The mechanism will be managed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) and will be allocated €201 billion; it should cover bank loans of up to €1 billion.
While the ministers approve of the principle of a guarantee, they are sceptical about the terms, fearing bureaucracy, and the de facto exclusion of micro-enterprises – which are those that most need it. The ministers warn that any increase in the envelope allocated to this mechanism will need to be compensated by reducing another part of the programme.
In the Commission’s proposal, all small and medium-sized enterprises would be eligible. But the Commission itself recognises that only enterprises with a viable business model, ie those that generate enough income to be able to reimburse loans to financial intermediaries, will, in practice, benefit from this mechanism.
The ministers adopted a “partial general approach” on these two programmes.