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Brussels, 24 July 2012
EU steps up support to reforms in public broadcasting
Brussels, 24 July - Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle and President of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) Jean-Paul Philippot signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing closer cooperation in assisting the reform of public broadcasters in the countries that aspire to join the EU.
Welcoming the agreement Commissioner Füle said: "The EU enlargement process is about assisting the aspirant countries with their transformation and reaching European standards in all areas of life. For the challenging task of helping public broadcasters with the reform, we have an important ally with the necessary expertise and experience, the EBU, with whom we share the same goals of promoting freedom of expression and public service media."
Media freedom and pluralism, including the reform of public broadcasting, are part of the EU accession criteria. The reforms are necessary to secure the financial sustainability of public broadcasters, protect them from undue political pressures, and bring them up to the level of modern management and technologies.
The Memorandum signed today with the EBU will structure the cooperation of the partners over a longer period – necessary for the reforms to produce concrete and tangible results. It is one of the results of the 2011 Speak up! Conference devoted to media freedom in the Western Balkans and Turkey. The European Commission plans to review progress made at a next such conference in 2013.
Commissioner Füle also expressed support for EBU's work in the European Neighbourhood region where the national broadcasters are also members of this organization. Both Mr. Füle and Mr. Philippot, agreed to have more coordinated and closer cooperation on this region. Commissioner also appreciated the recent EBU declaration on the core values of public service media.