Interview: Silvia Costa, Chair of the EU Culture Committee

Silvia Costa portrait

At the LUX Prize Ceremony on 17 December Silvia Costa, Chair of the Culture Committee, explained the objectives and priorities for 2015 and for the future.


A lot has been said about the Culture Committee own-initiative report on Juncker’s work programme for 2015. Any comments?

Silvia Costa: As Chair of the Committee on Culture, I recently sent a letter to President Schulz before the meeting between Juncker and the chairs of the political groups took place, to call for enhanced commitment on Juncker’s part in order to ensure that culture, the audiovisual sector and education be included from 2015 among the priorities of his ten-point programme. In the meantime, the agenda for education and training and the copyright review are still underway and we hope that education and training will be included in the jobs and growth plan. Nowadays, with the digital sector there is a serious disparity between the required market capacities and those possessed by operators in the cultural and audiovisual sector.Shortly before theLUX Prize ceremony, a debate on the Juncker plan was held. During this debate, ourgroup (S&D) was rather critical of some shortcomings in the plan. The Parliament thus decided that a resolution will be adopted in January on the matter.As for the investments plan, we were satisfied to see that education features among the five priorities and is understood as improving the education and training system.


What about the copyright review, on the other hand?

First of all, it goes without saying that it’s good to try to increase access to cultural content, but creators and authors must be protected. We need to strike the right balance between the two.At the same time, there’s the review of theAVMS Directive (Audio Visual Media Service), for which we feel the framework of rights and duties of OTTs and online cultural content should be reviewed.The review will take place in2016 and a study will be presented in 2015.


In the Culture sub-programme priority is given to the translation of works written in minority languages into dominant languages. A similar approach could be conceived for the MEDIA sub-programme as a means of promoting works from countries with smaller production?

That’s been around for a long time. We should remember that in the MEDIA programme there’s almost a handicap that favours small audiovisual industries. Aside from translation however, in both programmes greater attention is paid to promotion, via support to festivals, for example, and to everything that facilitates circulation of works and, consequently, translations.


Priorities of the new Culture Committee?

The priority for us is the AVMS Directive review, more so than the copyright review, but the two go hand in hand. It’s also highly important that the culture and audiovisual work plan be updated, and a report from the Council of Ministers was recently published in that regard. We also want to ensure that the culture and creativity sector play a more central role in the Europe 2020 Strategy. In addition, whenever there is talk of industry, growth and competitiveness, we want the cultural and creative industries to be kept in mind, without having to insist on this every time.


Any words about the LUX Prize?

This year it was really difficult to choose. The standard of the three finalist films was really high, even though Ida had a very unique and innovative profile and definitely deserved the award. But, I have to say that the other two films are extremely interesting, so much so that they’re already achieving huge success. Girlhood for example, is already being distributed in ten Member States, Ida in 56 European and non-European countries. And it’s a pleasure to know that distribution is growing for Class Enemy, a debut feature, currently distributed in four countries including Italy, where it has had great success. Another interesting aspect of the Lux Prize is the nomination of 28 young people – young cinema-lovers from each Member State, as ambassadors for the Prize. With the help of the European Parliament national offices, they are promoting the Prize and ensuring faster circulation of films.