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Eight EU candidate countries admitted to Media programme

The European Commission has adopted a series of decisions to enable eight candidate countries to participate in the Media programme (2001-2005).
Beginning this year if possible, or in 2003, cinema professionals in selected countries and their audiovisual industries will be able to use the Media programme to develop, distribute and promote their work, and also for training measures.
"The entry of eight candidate countries, and shortly of others, to the Media programme is good news. It is also good news for European cultural diversity, because the decisions adopted today mean that all the countries concerned have achieved a satisfactory alignment of their audiovisual legislation," said Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Education and Culture.
The eight candidate countries affected by these decisions are: Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia. A similar decision should shortly follow for Slovenia. Each new country participating in Media will make a financial contribution to the programme, partly through its national budget and the rest via the PHARE programme. The procedures for participation by film and programme makers and industrialists in the audiovisual sector in the applicant countries will be the same as those applicable to those in the member states.
This entry of candidate countries to Media Plus and Media Training is all the more important as a recent study by the European Audiovisual Observatory showed that between 1996 and 2001 only 42 films from the countries of central and eastern Europe were distributed commercially in at least one member state of the European Union, seen by a total of 2.2 million people in the Union, making a market share of 0.054%.
The Media Programme aims to strengthen the development and competitiveness of the European audio-visual industry by supporting a series of pan-European initiatives to assist companies working within the European audio-visual industry and to increase international circulation of European audio-visual output.
The third round of the programme, Media Plus began in January 2001 and will run to December 2005. With a budget of around £240 million, Media Plus supports professional training (screenwriting, business and new technologies), project development (single/slate), and the distribution and promotion (markets/festivals) of European audiovisual works.
Information on the operation of the Media programme is available at Media Programme (Scotland),

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