After a furious response to a previous consultation, the European Commission has this week performed a u-turn over proposals which would have restricted member states' right to require beneficiaries of support in the film and audiovisual sector to spend a given percentage of the budget for the film or TV production within their territory.
The proposed new rules would allow member states to continue to provide vital support for cherished cultural projects, whilst also helping to maintain specialised jobs and skills in individual member states.
It is proposed that member states will be able to require that producers spend up to 80% of their budget in that member state, as well as continuing to allow territories to fund projects that may not be able to get the money they need from private sources.
This is especially important for those countries whose film industries cannot hope to achieve the sort of economies of scale that can make them self-sustaining, like Scotland.
Scottish Member of the European Parliament, Alyn Smith said:
“I am glad that the Commission has heeded calls to rethink its proposed rule regarding state aid for the film and TV industry. These, as well as being important employers, are also vital cultural symbols, important to the Scottish people as a marker of their own distinct way of life.
“European cinema and cultural diversity should not be seen as mutually exclusive - they are not - although we must recognise that we can’t treat film and TV in the same way as we might treat other goods and services. I hope that next time the Commission will think harder about its proposals, and recognise the importance that many, particularly small nations, attach to their film, cinema and TV industries.”