Other relevant EU policies and funding in the audiovisual field

Leaving regulation aside, there is a range of EU actions that either stimulate diverse cultural expressions in the audiovisual and online sectors through funding or flag new political directions relevant to cultural diversity. Flowing from its subsidiary competence to support creativity in the audiovisual sector under Article 167(4) TFEU, the various EU- funded MEDIA lines of action aimed at strengthening the European audiovisual industries. The achievements of MEDIA were highlighted in the EU's official report to UNESCO on measures to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions in the framework of the 2005 UNESCO Convention: 'About 300 new films [were] supported yearly by MEDIA, representing one out of two European films distributed in Europe outside their country of origin' (European Commission, 2012c).

In addition to supporting the pre-production and distribution phases of European films as well as training, new action lines have been initiated to reflect emerging technologies, such as Video on Demand (VoD) (ibid.). The present framework programme Creative Europe has integrated audiovisual sector initiatives in a cross-sectoral cultural funding scheme with a budget of €1.46 billion (European Parliament and Council, 2013a). Also, as discussed elsewhere in this volume (especially in Chapter 7), the EU promotes the digitisation and digital preservation of cultural expressions as well as access to digital collections through the Europeana portal - a European hub for digital culture, including audiovisual collections (European Commission, 2012c). The Commission further coordinates through soft instruments the preservation of the national film heritage, and supports cooperation between member states to this end.15

The European Parliament has been very active where audiovisual policy intersects with cultural diversity, for example by recognising minority interests in audiovisual policy (cf. Morcillo Laiz, 2006). Through its political statements it has also accentuated a modern view of cultural diversity in the audiovisual sector, for example in stressing that 'community media are an effective means of strengthening cultural and linguistic diversity, social inclusion and local identity' (European Parliament, 2008b).

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