As President of FERA, representing thousands of European film and television directors, British director Sir Alan Parker has written today to President Barroso seeking clear justification for the Commission’s refusal to insist on the cultural exception in the forthcoming trade negotiations.
In his letter, Sir Alan (pictured) congratulates the Commission on the project for talks, which could bring long term economic gains, and thanks Commissioners de Grucht and Vassiliou for their reassurances, but is nevertheless asking for solid guarantees that the TTIP negotiating mandate will be strengthened by mid June. European systems of audiovisual support must not be traded away, now or inthe future, he argues, and future programmes such as Creative Europe must be absoutely free to develope despite any EU-US trade agreement.
Deploying widely accepted arguments on the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expression, and the Lisbon Treaty, Sir Alan points out that, due to the Subsidiarity principle, it may in fact be illegal to for the Commission make concessions that might prejudice European cultural aid schemes.
His letter also draws attention to the economic importance of the cultural industries. ”Losing or weakening audiovisual support schemes as part of a trade deal would cause not only cultural but economic damage, and certain loss of employment,” he argues.
Sir Alan asks for a face to face meeting with the Commission President in the next few weeksto receive the cast iron assurances that European directors are seeking.
Cosignatories of the letter are the Creative Council of FERA: Marco Bellocchio, Claire Denis, Agnieszka Holland, Neil Jordan and István Szabó.