Magazine article Screen International

Swiss Move into Talks for Creative Europe Membership

Magazine article Screen International

Swiss Move into Talks for Creative Europe Membership

Article excerpt

European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou also talks about future funding for Locarno festival.

Official negotiations between Switzerland and the European Union (EU) on membership of the future Creative Europe programme are likely to begin in a matter of weeks.

Speaking to ScreenDaily at Ascona's exclusive hideaway Castello Del Sole during this year's Locarno Film Festival, European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou revealed that she had an informal talk with Federal Councillor and Interior Minister Alain Berset about extending Switzerland's membership of the ccurrent MEDIA 2007 into the new framework programme.

"He personally said that he wants Switzerland to participate in both strands of Creative Europe for MEDIA and Culture," she reported. "There are some difficulties which I understand because they need the approval of all of the Cantons for the Culture part of it, so there may be some delays. But, for the MEDIA strand, we can start immediately in September to get the mandate from the European Parliament and the Council and then begin negotiations."

"I don't think we will complete negotiations by the very beginning of the Creative Europe programme [in January 2014], but the sooner we are finished, the better for the Swiss," Vassiliou continued. "We are prepared to have a call of proposals for Swiss applicants provided that the agreement has been finalised by the time the funded projects start."

She explained that Switzerland's financial contribution to Creative Europe would be calculated according the country's population and its GDP.

According to the annual report of the Swiss Federal Office for Culture (BAK), the Swiss government provides $8.9m (CHF 8.27m) as a financial contribution for the EU's current MEDIA Programme in 2013.

However, Vassiliou pointed out that there is no interest from the Swiss side to participate in the planned guarantee facility within Creative Europe.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner reported that she had had a "very productive" meeting with Locarno's festival president Marco Solari, the new artistic director Carlo Chatrian, Head of International Nadia Dresti, and the festival's COO Mario Timbal.

"Naturally, they are very anxious to see an agreement being completed between the EU and Switzerland so that there is a continuity of our cooperation," she noted, adding that she was expecting a delegation probably led by Solari to visit her in Brussels "after September" to present an overall proposal of how a future partnership could be developed to support the Industry Days and associated initiatives.

She intimated that a framework agreement could be concluded with Locarno for a longer period than just one year, "especially in the area of training such as the Summer Academy where the initiatives have a lasting effect. …

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