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Transatlantic partnership/cultural exception

Published on June 18, 2013
Communiqué issued by the Ministry of Culture

Paris, June 17, 2013

The cultural exception: “A victory for France”

On Friday evening, after more than 12 hours of negotiations, the 27 European trade ministers gathered in Luxembourg agreed to exclude the audiovisual sector from the mandate of trade negotiations with the United States; France wanted this in order to secure the long-term future of the cultural exception.

It was a non-negotiable point. The Prime Minister himself had announced in the National Assembly on 12 June that France would use her “right of political veto” and oppose the opening of negotiations if culture, the cultural industries, are not protected, not excluded from the negotiations.

As soon as the agreement was reached, the Minister of Culture, Mme Aurélie Filippetti, emphasized on Twitter that “the commitment of artists and cultural professionals was decisive in this victory” and, in another message, that “we’ve all fought to prevent culture being regarded as a commodity. It’s central to our European political project.”

The final compromise allows for the audiovisual sector to be added “later” to the negotiation mandate, said the European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht. However, in a communiqué dated 15 June, Aurélie Filippetti specified that “any change in the negotiation mandate will require unanimous agreement by all the European Union countries. No concessions will be made.”

In the same communiqué, the Minister recalled that “for the past 20 years, the cultural exception and the exclusion of the audiovisual sector have enabled the European countries to support their cultural industries, without closing their markets to American cultural productions. Above all, the cultural exception enables us to promote a diverse cultural offering: it’s a factor in the development of creativity and not a factor of isolation. This is a moment of victory for culture which the French government shares with all the professionals who have played an active role in recent weeks.”./.

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