European Commission officials have announced that countries bordering the union, including Georgia, could fully participate in the Creative Europe arts and culture funding program as soon as January if they meet criteria such as most favored nation status with the World Trade Organization.
Commission rep Irina Orssich informed film industry professionals this week at the Odessa film festival that Ukraine, Armenia Belarus, Moldova and Azerbaijan could also be among new participants in Creative Europe, building on cooperation efforts already in place.
Georgia could negotiate for full participation or sign bilateral agreements for specific sections of the pan-European arts support program, which was proposed in late 2011, aimed at sustaining and creating creative work and jobs and is to take effect in January.
Other factors that would allow participation in the program - which will support distribution of more than 1,000 European films among other goals - are meeting conditions set by the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services directive. The Odessa discussion follows up on the Tblisi Declaration, a statement of commitment to the goal of integrating the six nations into full participation, drafted after Georgia brought together ministers from the region to meet with EU Culture and Media Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou in June.
The EU is already supporting the region with 9m EUR through the Eastern Partnership culture program, begun in 2011, which feeds into the Directors Across Borders Regional Co-Production Forum, held last week during the Golden Apricot film festival in Yerevan. Bosnia & Herzegovina, meanwhile, has signed an agreement in July, making it the 33rd member of the EU’s MEDIA program.