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Brussels, 27 th January 2010

State aid: Commission authorises €576 million Spanish film support scheme

The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules a €576 million Spanish film support scheme until 31 December 2015. The scheme covers Spain’s national film support measures including film production and distribution. The Commission found that the scheme is compatible with Article 107(3)(d) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which allows aid to further cultural objectives under certain conditions. In particular, the scheme is in line with the rules of the Commission's Cinema Communication (see IP/01/1326 ).

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes commented: "I commend the Spanish authorities for targeting the aid to increase the cultural diversity of films available to Spanish audiences. This scheme should improve the visibility and popularity of Spanish independent films , not only in Spain but worldwide, without unduly distorting competition."

The scheme is a package of complementary selective and automatic measures which the Spanish authorities believe are necessary to achieve their objective of preserving linguistic and cultural diversity among the films available to Spanish and European audiences. The selective support is intended to sustain arthouse films while the automatic, audience-based support aims to encourage independent producers to make better-financed films rooted in Spanish/European culture. In 2008, US films accounted for 71.5% of the Spanish market. During its assessment, the Commission received submissions raising concerns about the automatic, audience-based support, including allegations that the aid was not available to films under €600,000 and that no preference was given to female filmmakers. In fact, films under €600,000 can benefit from the selective support and from part of the automatic support within the scheme. In addition, there is no EU legislation which requires film support schemes to ensure that half of the films supported are written or directed by female filmmakers. Consequently, the Commission considers that the Spanish scheme is compatible with EU rules. Member States are entitled to limit their film support to certain films and audiovisual works provided that the aid is directed towards a cultural product, which the Commission has verified in this case.

The Spanish authorities have committed to implement any changes that may be required by changes to the relevant state aid rules before the end of the scheme.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number N587/09 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News .

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