Written question to the European Commission

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a total halt to the shooting of European audiovisual productions, and the sector is still suffering from difficulties. Although measures to ease the lockdowns are allowing activities to gradually resume, insurance companies are not reimbursing the risks linked to COVID-19, putting film crews in a delicate financial situation.

This poses not only an economic problem, but also a cultural one. When cinemas reopen, Europe’s audiovisual offer will be reduced in favour of films benefiting from integrated insurance solutions, most of which are from the US. There is therefore a risk of a major imbalance in the works shown to Europeans.

While the Member States are progressing at a different pace to ensure the resumption of filming and cultural activities, the Commission has identified 14 priority ecosystems for recovery, including the cultural and creative industries.

1. In this context, does the Commission envisage the introduction of a specific instrument to alleviate the insurance difficulties encountered by the audiovisual production sector and ensure the resumption of filming?

2. From a cultural point of view, how does the Commission envisage responding to the lack of new productions that will be caused by this period of cessation of activity?

Answer given by Commissioner Breton on behalf of the European Commission

The Commission has put forward a major recovery plan proposal composed of a new recovery instrument, Next Generation EU, and a revamped Multiannual Financial Framework. Several instruments contained in this package could specifically support the European audiovisual production sector, in various ways.

Furthermore, on 29 July 2020, as announced in recent months, the Commission adopted adjustments to the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility to which the European production small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can also apply. Concretely, the new measures will encourage financial intermediaries to offer more flexible conditions such as longer repayment periods or temporary credit interruptions.

The Commission is aware of the costs associated to halting shootings due to the COVID-19 crisis. While acknowledging the relevance of insurance support to resume productions, the Commission does not envisage establishing a specific instrument at EU level to cover these costs.

Production support rests primarily at national and regional level. Therefore, Member States could use some of the instruments under the Next Generation EU recovery package to put in place compensation funds and support resuming audiovisual production, thereby addressing the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

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