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European Union Audiovisual Policy

When establishing the European Union (EU), the audiovisual field was not defined as a separate policy. Nevertheless audiovisual policy in the EU has been gradually deepened and broadened between the EU member states due to more effective cooperation in such fields as entrepreneurship, free movement of services and protection of minors. Meanwhile the improvement of the audiovisual sector comes also as a reply to challenges brought by the new and fast developing information and communication technologies.

For the majority of people the audiovisual content in the television, internet and on other technological platforms is the main source of information and it has an obvious and increasing impact on the formation of society’s opinion and ordinary habits. Therefore the audiovisual sector is important not only in the field of culture and economics but also plays a key role as a provider of information for society and can serve as a reply to its social needs.

EU competence within the audiovisual policy is based on the fundamental principles of the internal market - free movement of goods and services and freedom of establishment.

Due to the growing need to raise the competitiveness of the European audiovisual production, the first attempts to shape the EU audiovisual policy were initiated in the beginning of 1980’ies. Maastricht Treaty or Treaty on European Union, which was signed in 1992, included a reference to the audiovisual policy and underlined the need to promote the cooperation between the EU member states as well as to ensure EU support to creative activities in the audiovisual sector. The Treaty also indicates that the cultural aspects should be taken into consideration when taking action under other provisions of the Treaty because EU has no competence over national culture policies. The Treaty of Amsterdam, which was signed on 2 October 1997, was accompanied by a protocol in regards to the system of public broadcasting in the member states.


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