Europe’s Cultural Exception, which holds that cultural goods and services be treated differently than others, may be protected after all. France had threatened to veto trade talks between the EU and the U.S. over the inclusion of the audiovisual and film industries in a negotiation mandate that is expected to be set at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union tomorrow. Just hours from the meeting, AFP reports that the European Commission is set to offer its 27 member states an exceptional first-look right during the negotiations. “Ordinarily, the European Commission negotiates free trade agreements with a third party on behalf of the 27. But there is a constant dialogue with the European states to keep them informed,” a source told the news agency. The EC is proposing to go back to the member states for their green light when the audiovisual question comes up, the source added. France has been leading the charge of European countries and filmmakers who are concerned that including the arts in the trade talks would jeopardize the creation, distribution and financing of European film. Over 7,000 filmmakers have now signed a petition to keep the audiovisual and film industries off the table.
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