Kroes geeft toestemming aan staatssteun voor Franse filmsector (en)

woensdag 22 maart 2006

The Commission today approved the collection of French cinema and audiovisual support mechanisms on the basis of the EC State aid rules.

The Commission considered that almost all of the numerous mechanisms notified constituted State aid. However, the Commission concluded that it can approve them on the basis that most of them encourage cultural development without affecting exchanges between Member States to an extent contrary to the common interest.

Neelie Kroes i, the Competition Commissioner, said : « I am pleased that the Commission has been able to approve the core aspects of these mechanisms on the basis of the 2001 Cinema Communication. This Communication has to be revised in 2007 and the French authorities have committed to modifying the mechanisms if necessary.».

The notified mechanisms affect all stages in the life of a work. However, the key feature of this collection of aid mechanisms is to support the production of both cinematic and audiovisual works. The various mechanisms can be grouped into the following categories :

  • Support for the production of theatrical short and feature films (including in the form of tax credits);
  • Support for the distribution of films;
  • Support for cinema halls ;
  • Support for the production of TV films ;
  • Support for the video industry ; and
  • Certain financing mechanisms.

The Commission has concluded that almost all the notified mechanisms constitute State aid. For the majority of these mechanisms, the Commission considered that they satisfied the conditions for applying the cultural derogation in the EC Treaty (article 87.3(d)), particularly on the basis of the 2001 Cinema Communication (see IP/01/1326), which sets out the State aid rules for cinematic and audiovisual production. For the mechanisms supporting film production, the Commission was particularly assured that the criteria concerning constraints on where the expenditure was to be incurred were fulfilled.

Given that the Cinema Communication expires in June 2007 and may be modified, the commitment offered by the French authorities to adapt the mechanisms accordingly, if necessary, was an important element in allowing the Commission to approve the notified mechanisms.