External Policy :: EU Enlargement
Audiovisual policy and
prospective new members of the EU
Before joining the EU, countries have to bring their national laws into line with EU rules, including – in the audiovisual field – the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. When they do so, they become eligible for funding under the MEDIA 2007 programme (covering the period 2007-13)
The EU has already accepted Croatia, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as official candidates for membership. Following the alignment of its broadcasting legislation with the EU rules Croatia joined the MEDIA 2007 programme in 2008.
For information on their progress towards meeting the membership requirements in the audiovisual field, see the EU’s annual progress reports for the candidate and potential candidate countries.
The other countries of the Western Balkans - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia as well as Kosovo under UN Security Council Resolution 1244/99 - have been promised the prospect of EU membership as and when they are ready. Recently, the Council of the European Union acknowledged Iceland's application for EU membership and requested the European Commission to submit its opinion on this application. These countries are known as potential candidates.
With regard to audiovisual policy, these countries’ main challenge is to:
ensure that the media operate in accordance with fundamental democratic principles as essential elements of the so-called "Copenhagen criteria" and
bring their laws into line with the audiovisual media services directive.
Audiovisual policy support
Promoting the alignment with European standards on media legislation is one of the main priorities of the European Commission in supporting the convergence of the Western Balkan countries and Turkey with the European Union. The European Commission therefore invited media stakeholders of the Western Balkans countries and Turkey to a seminar on the audiovisual media services directive and the digitalization of television, which took place in Istanbul on 1 and 2 December 2008.
This followed on from an earlier initiative to support broadcasting policy reform in the Western Balkans which focused on:
European standards on the democratic functioning of media, the television without frontiers directive (which the audiovisual media services directive will supersede)
the role of the broadcasting regulatory authorities within an effective and stable regulatory system
the transformation of state television companies into genuine public service broadcasters
local content as a means of promoting cultural diversity in the audiovisual media
The initiative achieved several significant results:
The representatives from the audiovisual sector in the Western Balkan countries signed a DECLARATION ON MEDIA INDEPENDENCE , pledging support for media independence, professional standards and efforts to keep audiovisual content free from hate speech. Download the Declaration;
Croatia brought its legislation into line with the television without frontiers directive, and joined the MEDIA 2007 programme in 2008. Upon request from the Croatian government the European Commission produced an analysis of the alignment of the Croatian draft proposal of the Electronic Media Act with the audiovisual media services directive;
negotiations (ongoing) to open the MEDIA programme up to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia;
the joint EU/Council of Europe-Albania Action Plan on media reform;
Montenegro roadmap for media reform;
On 28 April 2008 the European Commission in cooperation with the Council of Europe and OSCE organised an Expertise workshop on the independence of media and telecoms regulatory authorities in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina).