16 April, 2014
What Limits to Global Convergence: EPRA Chairman joins EUROREG conference
The President of EPRA, Jean-François Furnémont, has represented EPRA at the fourth EUROREG conference on Limits to Global Convergence held in Zurich on 27 March 2014 at the invitation of the Swiss Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM). This year EUROREG focused on the discrepancy between regulation and new business models in the European TV industry.
On this occasion, Jean-François Furnémont debated with Matteo Maggiore, Deputy Director of Public Affairs and Communications of OECD, on the free trade agreement currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States and its potential implications on European audiovisual policy.
In his speech, Jean-François Furnémont highlighted the tension between the concept of cultural exception defended by several European countries and the reality of the market. He recalled some important facts related to the process of protection of European works: the United States export to Europe four times more cultural goods than the EU does in the United States, American cinema accounts for approx. two-thirds of the European market, quotas of European works on non-linear services are only required to be achieved "where practicable and by appropriate means" (Article 16 of the AVMS Directive) and measures to promote European works on non-linear services are not considered as mandatory but as simple encouragement.
He also highlighted the threats that a fully-fledged trade liberalisation might pose to public service broadcasting and, as a consequence, to the dual broadcasting system in Europe and media pluralism.
As a conclusion, Jean-François Furnémont stated that the cultural exception is not so much threatened by the inclusion of audiovisual services into the transatlantic free trade but by forum shopping in the field of tax and regulation within Europe, thus allowing global players to establish themselves and to benefit from the internal European market, sometimes to the detriment of European players which are subject to much stricter regulatory regimes concerning the production and promotion of European works.
Several EPRA members took part in the conference representing the regulatory authorities from Germany, United Kingdom, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Spain (CAC and CNMC) and Switzerland.
EUROREG Conference website
Source: EPRA Secretariat