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Assessing State aid for films and other audiovisual works

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Examples of European films produced with the help of State aid and supported by the MEDIA programme

Policy field

Competition: State aid

Target group

EU Member States, citizens, cinemas, film distributors, film producers, filmmakers, post-production facilities, film sector associations, as well as national, regional and local film institutes.

Period of consultation

From 20.06.2011 to 30.09.2011 See contributions

Introduction and purpose of the consultation

Audiovisual works, particularly films, play an important role in shaping European identities. They reflect the cultural diversity of the different traditions and histories of the EU Member States and regions. Audiovisual works are both economic goods, offering important opportunities for the creation of wealth and employment, and cultural goods which mirror and shape our societies.

Within the EEA, any assistance given by a public body to undertakings which has the potential to distort competition and affect trade between EU Member States is subject to the EU State aid rules. This generally includes public support for audiovisual works.

In 2001, the European Commission adopted a Communication which set out the State aid assessment criteria for support for producing films and audiovisual works (the Cinema Communication). The validity of these criteria was extended in 2004, 2007 and 2009.

The 2009 extension announced that new rules on State aid to cinematographic and other audiovisual works would come into effect by 31 December 2012, at the latest, when the existing rules would expire. It also noted that the Commission had carried out an extensive study into the economic and cultural impact of territorial spending obligations imposed in film support schemes. The results underlined the need for further reflection before proposing a modification of the existing State aid assessment criterion in the 2001 Cinema Communication concerning territorial spending obligations, compatible with the fundamental principles of the Treaty.

At the same time, the Commission stated that "a number of different trends have emerged since the 2001 Cinema Communication which will require some refinement of [the State aid assessment] criteria in due course. These trends include support for aspects other than film and TV production (such as film distribution and digital projection), more regional film support schemes, as well as competition among some Member States to use State aid to attract inward investment from large-scale, mainly US, film production companies."

To follow up on this and other issues which have come up in more recent case practice, the Commission should complete a review of the Communication by the end of 2012 , taking these developments into account.

The issues paper below attempts to define the context for films and audiovisual works in future and to identify areas for reflection and indicate possible orientations on the future rules for any related State aid. The Commission will be guided by comments on the issues paper submitted during the 3-month consultation period ending on 30 September 2011. The proposed text for a future Communication in this area will be published for consultation, possibly in January 2012.

Consultation document: the issues paper

Press release: IP/11/757 bg cs da de el en es et fi fr hu it lt lv mt nl pl pt ro sk sl sv

FAQ: MEMO/11/428 bg cs da de el en es et fi fr hu it lt lv mt nl pl pt ro sk sl sv

Issues paper (RTF):bg cs da de el en es et fi fr hu it lt lv mt nl pl pt ro sk sl sv (Rich Text Format)

Issues paper (PDF):bg cs da de el en es et fi fr hu it lt lv mt nl pl pt ro sk sl sv

Issues paper (ODF):bg cs da de el en es et fi fr hu it lt lv mt nl pl pt ro sk sl sv

Replies to the consultation

  • Anonymous re: German Film Fund de
  • Anthony Williams Consultancy en
  • Carlos Corao es
  • Séamas McSwiney en
  • Sophie De Vinck en annex en
Public authorities
  • Austria de
  • Belgium - Flemish Community en
  • Belgium - French Community fr
  • Bulgaria - Ministry of Culture bg
  • Bulgaria - National Film Centre bg
  • Cine-Regio en
  • Cyprus - Ministry of Education and Culture en
  • Czech Republic cs
  • EFAD common position en
  • EFTA Surveillance Authority en
  • Estonia en
  • FFF Bayern de
  • Finland - Ministry of Education and Culture en
  • France fr
  • Germany de
  • Ireland - Irish Film Board en
  • Italy it
  • Latvia lv
  • Lithuania lt - annex 1 lt - annex 2 en
  • Netherlands nl
  • Norway en
  • Oberhausen Short Film Festival de
  • Poland pl en
  • Slovakia sk
  • Slovenia sl
  • Sweden sv
  • UK - British Film Commission en
  • UK - British Film Institute en
  • UK en
  • UK - Film Agency for Wales en
  • UK - NHS Sheffield en
Registered organisations
  • AG Dok en
  • AG Kino de
  • American Assembly en
  • ANICA en
  • ARD & ZDF de
  • Caviar Films (Belgium) nl
  • CEDC fr
  • Champs en
  • CEPI, FIAPF & IVF en
  • Deutsche Telekom de
  • Directors UK en
  • EGDF en
  • Ericsson en - annex en
  • EuFCN en
  • Eurocinema fr
  • EuroFia fr
  • FERA en
  • FIAD fr
  • Iliad fr
  • SAA en
  • SACD fr
  • SRF fr
  • Production Allianz de
  • UK Faculty of Public Health en
  • UNICE en
  • Union of Bulgarian filmmakers bg
  • VTFF de
Non-registered organisations
  • 100 Autori it
  • Anonymous French telecom operator fr
  • ARP fr
  • ASH Wales en
  • BECTU en
  • BITKOM de
  • CICAE de
  • CMTA en
  • Danish cinema owners en
  • ENSP en
  • Europa Distribution en
  • European Federation of Actors fr
  • European Producers' Club en
  • F & MA de
  • FNCF - National Federation of French Cinemas fr
  • FNDF - National Federation of French Distributors fr
  • Federation of Screenwriters of Europe en
  • Finnish Cinema Exhibitors' Association en
  • Finnish Film Distributors' Association en
  • FISA de
  • HDF Kino de
  • Heart of Mersey en
  • Independent Film & Television Alliance en
  • Imperial College en
  • N Lincs SmokeFree Alliance en
  • Nordic Councils of Artists en
  • RAI it
  • SmokeFree Somerset Alliance en
  • Studio Babelsberg de
  • Tobacco free Norfolk Alliance en
  • UK Film Distributors' Association en
  • UNI MEI Global Union en

Reference documents and other, related consultations

Indicative timetable

  • March 2012 - June 2012: Public consultation on draft Communication
  • June 2012: Publish consultation responses
  • 2nd half 2012: Adoption of new Cinema Communication

Contact details

Responsible service:
Directorate-General for Competition – Unit C4
Please always indicate the reference number in your correspondence: "Cinema Communication consultation 1 – HT 2950"

Ref.: HT 2950

Postal address:
European Commission
Directorate-General for Competition
Cinema Communication consultation 1 – HT.2950
State aid Registry
1049 Brussels
Fax (32-2) 296 12 42


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