A victory for Europe’s creativity: GESAC welcomes European Council’s decision to exclude audiovisual sector from EU-US trade deal and urges creators to remain mobilised
GESAC, the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers, welcomes the decision made by Europe’s trade ministers on Friday to exclude the audiovisual sector from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’s negotiating mandate.
The landmark move is in line with the wishes of the European Parliament. At a vote among democratically-elected Members of the European Parliament on 23 May this year, some 381 of those present voted in favour of excluding the cultural and creative industries from the potential deal. Some 191 voted against and 17 abstained.
The European Council and European Parliament’s stance in favor of the cultural exception demonstrates their commitment to a strong, creative Europe. Their common position is now clear: “audiovisual services will not be covered”.
Wally Badarou, composer,said: “It was high time Europe understood that what was at stake, the very soul of its nations, could not be bargained with. The EU Parliament’s decision, supported by the Council, is a milestone towards global awareness. We are proud to be part of the journey, and we’ll make sure we never turn back.”
The intention expressed by European Commissioner Karel De Gucht, immediately following the Luxembourg decision, to re-open the discussions on the mandate during the free-trade negotiations with the US, therefore clearly raises democratic concerns. Creators and the creative industries of Europe must remain mobilised to avoid any such attempt in the future.
Liberalising trade even further by including the audiovisual sector within TTIP’s negotiating mandate would cause irreparable economic, cultural and social harm to Europe’s creative fabric, weakening European artists’ and producers’ position even further. It would not bring about more European exports to the US. What’s more, existing regulations for cultural diversity in Europe do not hinder US cultural exports to Europe, where the market is wide open.
The global creative community, from all arts and creative industries, has joined forces to show their support for Europe’s authors and the cultural exception. A petition signed by thousands of artists, in particular from the film, audiovisual and music industries, has called for the negotiating mandate to exclude the audiovisual sector. The directors, actors, songwriters and music authors, writers and other artists involved came not just from Europe, but from all over the world – including the United States, Canada, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Ahead of Friday’s meeting, this mobilisation sent a clear signal that Europe’s cultural exception must stay for the good of culture everywhere.
Commenting on the decision, Christophe Depreter, President of GESAC and CEO of Sabam said “We are pleased that Europe’s member states, represented by their trade ministers, followed the European Parliament’s clear support for the cultural exception and have shown such a clear understanding of the issues at stake here. Excluding the audiovisual sector from TTIP will mean that the cultural mix that Europe currently enjoys will remain. European creators and creative industries must remain mobilised to avoid any attempt to alter this clear European position on the cultural exception”
About Wally Badarou:
Composer and fifth member of the Band « Level 42 » (Something about you, Lessons in love), he has worked, amongst others, with Marianne Faithfull, Wasis Diop, Fela Kuti, Carlinhos Brown, Grace Jones (Private Life, Libertango), Gregory Isaacs (Night Nurse), Joe Cocker, Jimmy Cliff, Manu Dibango, Miriam Makeba, Mick Jagger, Robert Palmer (Addicted To Love), Talking Heads (Speaking in tongues), Foreigner (I want to know what love is») and M (Pop Muzik).
GESAC represents 34 of the main collective copyright management societies (authors’ societies) in the European Union, Norway and Switzerland, that administer the royalties of almost 500 000 authors, composers and writers of a variety of sectors (music, audiovisual, literary and visual and graphic arts), as well as of music publishers.
For more information, please contact:
Véronique Desbrosses, General Manager
Office: +32(2) 511 44 54