European Commission Begins Final Consultation on Film Subsidies

New rules governing Europe's $4 billion in annual film aid will come into effect this summer.

COLOGNE, Germany - The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, has launched its third and final public consultation into its overhaul of rules governing the $4 billion (€3 billion) of film subsidies dolled out annually by EU member states.

The bulk of the state-supplied cash, around $2.6 billion (€2 billion) annually, comes in the form of grants and soft loans, with a further $1.3 billion (€1 billion) in tax incentives.

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Film companies and engaged EU citizens now have until May 28 to lobby the Commission to adjust their draft communication on audiovisual subsidies. The new communication will be adopted by the Commission in July and will govern how the massive subsidy pie gets divvied up.

The negotiations surrounding Europe's film subsidies come as Europe and the United States engage in talks aimed at creating a free-trade zone between the world's two largest economies. European film subsidy bodies, as well as prominent European directors including Michael Haneke, Ken Loach and Pedro Almodovar, who rely on EU subsidies to finance their films, have united to call for film support to be taken off the table in any free-trade talks.