The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the state aid criteria it proposes to use to assess Member States’ film support schemes in future. The criteria are set out in a draft Communication, on which the Commission invites comments by 14 June 2012. The final Communication is due to be adopted by the Commission in the second half of 2012.
Joaquín Almunia, Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy, commented: “Today’s draft Communication aims to provide a workable instrument which is beneficial both for the entire European audiovisual sector and for European audiences. It builds on the input we received from the first round of public consultation and from exchanges of views with Member States and other interested parties. I look forward to interesting feedback on our proposals.”
This is the second and final consultation in the process of reviewing the current state aid assessment criteria, which are due to expire by 31 December 2012 at the latest. The draft Communication is intended to create a level playing field between Member States and to encourage cross-border productions, taking advantage of the internal market rules. It should ensure that European audiences are offered a more culturally diverse choice of audiovisual works.
Three main changes are proposed in the draft Communication:
- To extend the scope of activities covered by the Communication to include all phases of an audiovisual work from concept to delivery to audiences. The existing rules only apply to production support.
- To limit the spending obligation in the territory granting production support to a maximum of 100% of the aid;
- To require that film production support schemes that base the calculation of the aid amount on the production expenditure in a given territory, such as film tax incentives, treat any production expenditure in the European Economic Area (EEA) as eligible.
See also MEMO/12/186 for questions and answers on the review.
The draft Cinema Communication and other information about the public consultation are published at
Comments should be sent by 14 June 2012 to: Stateaidgreffe@ec.europa.eu
EU Member States provide an estimated €3 billion per year in film support: €2 billion in grants and soft loans and €1 billion in tax incentives. Around 80% of this is for film production. France, the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain offer the majority of this financial support.
The Commission currently assesses aid for film production according to the state aid rules indicated in the 2001 Cinema Communication (IP/01/1326), which is based on Article 107.3(d) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, which allows aid of a cultural character provided that it does not adversely affect competition and trade between Member States.
The draft Communication draws from the issues paper published by the Commission on 20 June 2011 (IP/11/757) and the contributions received during the first consultation.