Brussels, 23 May 2007
Council of Audiovisual Ministers on 24 May: Political agreement expected on "Audiovisual Media Services without frontiers" Directive
The EU "Education, Youth Affairs and Culture" Council will meet on 24-25 May 2007 in Brussels. For the audiovisual and media items on the agenda on 24 May, the Commission will be represented by Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media. At this Council, political agreement is expected on one of the priorities of the Commission and of the German Presidency: the Audiovisual Media Services without frontiers (AVMS) Directive.
Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities (Audiovisual Media Services without frontiers)
On 13 December 2005, the Commission adopted the proposal for the modernisation of the TV Without Frontiers Directive to address the significant technological and market developments in audiovisual services (see IP/05/1573 and MEMO/06/208). At the Council meeting of 18 May 2006, the Commission outlined the main features of its proposal (see MEMO/06/207).
In the course of 2006, the European Parliament and the Council have conducted intensive negotiations, mediated by the Commission, aimed at achieving an agreement on this important file for a competitive audiovisual industry in Europe. On 13 November 2006, the Council agreed on a general approach on a modernised draft Audiovisual Media Services Directive. The European Parliament completed its first reading of the Directive on 13 December 2006, showing strong convergence on both the Commission's proposal and the general approach of the Council. In February 2007, an informal Council in Berlin prepared the ground for adoption of a common position on the Directive on 24 May 2007.
The Commission consolidated the views of the European Parliament and the Council in an updated proposal on 9 March 2007 to pave the way for an early agreement in second reading (see IP/07/311).
In April, the Council's Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) unanimously verified its agreement for a compromise solution. On 8 May the European Parliament's Culture Committee (Rapporteur: Ruth Hieronymi) confirmed, by a large majority, its support for the compromise text resulting from discussions between the Presidency, the Rapporteur and the Commission.
Accordingly, the Chairman of the Culture Committee recently sent a letter to the Council stating that the Parliament does not intend to adopt further amendments during the second reading, due to take place after the summer break (September/October). This paved the way for an early conclusion of inter-institutional negotiations leading to an "early second reading agreement" in Parliament.
At this Council
The Presidency is expected to reach a political agreement in view of the formal adoption of a Common Position on the Audiovisual Media Services without frontiers Directive, which is expected to enter into force before the end of 2007. Member States will be given 24 months to transpose the new provisions into national law, so that the modernised legal framework for audiovisual business will fully apply in 2009. The text of the Directive is available from: