Public aid: Cinema pros defend current rules
By Nathalie Vandystadt | Wednesday 23 May 2012
European cinema professionals are fighting off any attempt by the EU executive to withdraw the current system of territorialisation of public aid for films and audiovisual productions as they fear a decrease in their subsidies.
Indeed, in its March communication on the compatibility of these aids with competition in the EU – a communication which is open to consultation until 14 June (see
Europolitics 4385) – the Commission found that “it is not proportionate for member states to require film producers to spend 80% of the production budget in their territories, regardless of the aid amount available”.
The Commission considers it “more appropriate to base the maximum territorial spending obligations on the amount of the aid than on the production budget”. In a joint response, 11 European associations of producers, directors, actors and distributors claim “there is no evidence or proof that the current territorialisation criteria [which were authorised by the EU in 2001] require modification”.
Although a study commissioned by the executive in 2008 could not confirm any positive or negative effects of the territorialisation conditions, the post-production conditions have, however, changed since 2001. “Therefore,” the executive argues, “the amount of expenditure, which is tied by territorial conditions, should have at least a proportional relation with the amount of the actual financial commitment of a member state”.
With such a shakeup, the sector is worried that member states will be allured by arbitrary territorialisation choices and will complicate access to aid. The sector is worried that in the worst-case scenario, the member states will make massive cuts in public aid to cinema, when the sector is an important source of jobs and growth.