HC Deb 24 November 1995 vol 267 cc339-40W
Mr. Lidington

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what has been the outcome of the United Kingdom's presidency of the pan-European Audiovisual Eureka initiative. [3072]

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

I am pleased to announce that I have today formally made the London declaration setting out a new role and objectives for Audiovisual Eureka. I do so having been notified by Ministers of 25 of the 33 participating Audiovisual Eureka countries, as well as by the Council of Europe, that they are content to see the declaration adopted. A copy of the declaration has been placed in the House Libraries.

The London declaration, negotiated under the United Kingdom presidency of Audiovisual Eureka—AVE— takes forward the recommendations of an independent evaluation of the initiative undertaken by management consultants, Coopers and Lybrand. The declaration refocuses the pan-European media initiative more narrowly and in keeping with its limited resources. The redefined objectives are to:

  • strengthen and promote the audiovisual industry in the wider Europe, taking into account new technology;
  • concentrate its activities on acting as an intermediary on the one hand between AVE countries not presently members of the European Union and, on the other, the members of the European Union, as well as European Community and other programmes and instruments applicable to the audiovisual sector;
  • initiative and further appropriate structural projects principally in the areas of training audiovisual professionals and the development and distribution of European audiovisual works; and
  • provide a range of project-related services targeted at small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular to foster partnerships involving countries with limited audiovisual capacity.

These objectives will be achieved through a four-year work programme prepared by the United Kingdom and Poland, as the current and future presidencies of AVE, which was approved by national co-ordinators from participating countries on 23 and 24 November in Strasbourg.

The declaration will take effect from 1 January 1996, which also marks the beginning of the new work programme. I expect all member countries of AVE to signal their acceptance of the declaration before then.

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