Mith: The EC has authorised a 120-episode Euro soap opera, as well as a Euro news channel, with the aim of promoting the European ideal. It also plans to restrict the number of US programmes on television in order to restrict the amount of US culture in our living rooms.
Response: The European Commission has no plans to set up Euro soap operas or Euro news channels.
Moreover the Commission does not have the power to authorise such productions. The Commission is, of course, encouraging and supporting the European audiovisual industry. After a phase of consultations and pilot experiments from 1987 to 1990 which were considered successful by industry professionals, experts and political officials, the MEDIA programme was unanimously adopted by the Council of Ministers on 21.12.1990. The estimated budget is 200 million ECU for the five years 1991-5.
The MEDIA programme consists of 19 different initiatives. It hopes to stimulate European production, improve its quality and competitive position, increase its cinema exhibition and to help European audiovisual professionals make the most of the incentives and collaboration systems.
The MEDIA programme assists in the different phases of production without interfering with content. Instead of subsidies, the MEDIA programme proposes “seed” capital to launch projects on the market.
One initiative, the European Film Distribution Office, aims to assist in the distribution of European films as some 80% of all European films still do not cross the borders of their country of origin, and the market share of European films in European cinemas continues to drop. The audiovisual industry in the EC is the second largest outside the US.