The European Commission has proposed in its Multiannual Financial Framework (MMF) for 2014-2020 to allocate €1.6bn for culture and the audiovisual industry. The proposal would see the Culture, MEDIA and MEDIA Mundus programmes combined into an “umbrella” programme called Creative Europe.
The annual proposed budgets for ‘Creative Europe’ would begin at €182 million in 2014, and increase step-by-step to €197m (2015), €212m (2016), €227m (2017), €242m (2018), €257m (2019), and finally €273m (2020).
The Commission explained that ‘Creative Europe’ would “bring together the current Culture, MEDIA and MEDIA Mundus programmes in order to focus support on the achievement of the Europe 2020 goals and help unlock the job creation potential of the cultural and creative sectors.” This was explained in its communication on the MMF to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee of the Regions.
The Commission document stated that “The programme will complement other EU programmes by specifically targeting the needs of the cultural and creative sectors aiming to operate beyond national borders, and with a strong link to the promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity. The specificities of each sector will be catered for, including through a dedicated budgetary allocation, and a third strand will provide horizontal support to the creative and cultural industries through the use of innovative financial instruments.”
The communication identified access to finance as one of the key barriers to development of creative content, which will be addressed with an “innovative financial instrument” run by the European Investment Bank (EIB) group, to provide debt and equity finance for cultural and creative industries.
No breakdown of dedicated budgets (for Culture and MEDIA programmers, or the financial instrument) for the proposal was given. The member states will now spend the next 12 months discussing and amending the EC’s budget proposals. The deadline for approval of the final version is the end of 2012.
In the run-up to EC’s proposals for the MFF, there have been calls from groups such as the Brussels-based Federation of Audiovisual Directors (FERA) for the European Commission to boost the MEDIA Programme’s budget from the current €775m to €1.2bn over the next seven year period. This boost seems unlikely as the new proposed total expenditure for culture and media sectors for 2014-2020 is €1.6bn and part of this increased budget will still be needed for the innovative financial instrument to be operated by the EIB.
Irish companies were awarded over €9.53 million from the MEDIA programme during the 2001-2006 cycle. MEDIA has supported many successful Irish projects including Cartoon Saloon’s ‘The Secret of Kells’, Fastnet Films ‘The Runway’ and Newgrange Pictures feature ‘Happy Ever Afters’.