France’s film and TV industry is breathing a sigh of relief after the EU decided the sector would be kept out of any free trade agreement with the US.
Talks between the European Union and the United States can now go ahead with France withdrawing its objections.
France had refused to sign up unless cultural industries – such as television, movies and online entertainment – were excluded from the deal.
Following the EU announcement, French Trade Minister Nicole Bricq said: “I’m not speaking about victory, because I don’t want to, you know during a negotiation we are not alone, I’m all about European solidarity. The only thing I can regret is that, sometimes, I’ve been under the impression that some parties negotiated directly with the United States.”
France puts more public funding into its film industry than any other EU member. There were fears that French cinema could not survive against Hollywood if subsidies were taken away.
Dozens of leading European filmmakers and well-known actors had signed a 7000 strong petition to protect the industry.
European leaders are now expected to launch talks with US President Barack Obama at the G8 Summit next week. If the deal is done, it would be the world’s largest Free Trade Agreement.