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  The EUROPA-TV Consortium is currently experiencing serious
  difficulties.  It would therefore be useful to take a brief look at
  its history and the reasons why the Commission became involved in its
  The experimental satellite broadcasts of EUROPA-TV, started on 5
  October 1985 under the aegis of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU)
  by five public service television stations, are the follow-up to the
  EURIKON experiments of 1982.(1)  The aim of the two series of
  experiments was to check certain theories, in particular :
  - the possibility of multilingual broadcasts;
  - the possibility of televised news produced by multinational
    teams and aimed at an European audience,
  - the general scope for multinational activity making use of
    the potential of television satellites with a view to the
    introduction of direct satellite broadcasting (DSB).
  These theories, based on technical developments, offer a way of
  overcoming language barriers and the difficulties that have always
  prevented the people of Europe from learning about each other.  This
  is why the Commission lent its support to the project, in response to
  the wishes expressed on several occasions by the European Parliament,
  starting with the HAHN Resolution of 1982.
  Both the EURIKON and the EUROPA-TV projects confirmed the validity of
  the initial theories, and this has been further supported by recent
  reports from independent experts (e.g. the MacKinsey Report).
  (1) In 1982, the Commission provided assistance for the EURIKON
  project : five weeks of closed-circuit multilingual broadcasts by five
  European television bodies : IBA, RAI, NOS, ORF and
                               - 2 -
  Further confirmation of the value of the project comes from the strong
  interest, accompanied by substantial offers of financing, expressed by
  private bodies seeking involvement with EUROPA-TV.
  As matters stand, the partners of the EUROPA-TV Consortium are meeting
  to discuss the programme's future, including the possibility of
  closing down the project on grounds of what they call "financial
  The partners in question are major public European stations : the ARD
  in Germany, RAI in Italy, the NOS in Holland, the RTE in Ireland and
  the RTP in Portugal.  The financial difficulties of EUROPA-TV, which
  amount to no more than an inadequate cash flow situation that is only
  to be expected in this type of project, are such as to be within the
  financial means of the partners to cover.
  It therefore seems likely that should the consortium decide to call a
  halt to the project, it would be as a result of hesitations in some
  other area and of a change in political will.
  The Commission has contributed one million ECU to the projects on
  multilingual and multinational news.  It is now waiting for the
  reports provided for under its Agreement with the Consortium, and
  proposes to weigh its future action carefully, including the legal
  aspects of the situation.

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