What does the European directive say about the protection of languages?

  • The Government urges Republicans to work together” in the process of amendments to the audiovisual law to find a way out within the European framework

  • Economy emphasizes that the community norm does not allow imposing quotas on Netflix, and ERC says that it is possible and that the EU protects the linguistic diversity

The General State Budgets (PGE) for 2022 are right now in the air. And they are because ERC has already warned, with clarity, that if the Government does not comply with the pact on the audiovisual law, to protect production in the three co-official languages, on all platforms – including Netflix and HBO– will withdraw its support for the standard and will weigh whether to veto the accounts in the Senate. A veto that could prosper in the upper house if it adds the PP and more minority formations – a not an easy challenge – and that the Executive would have a difficult time raising by an absolute majority in Congress.

EU Directive on audiovisual communication (2018)

EU Directive on audiovisual communication (2018)

The Executive recognized this Tuesday, with equal clarity, that the 6% fee for the production of works in Catalan, Basque and Galician it is applicable to national operators (Movistar +, Atresplayer Premium, Mitele Plus, Filmin or FlixOlé), but not those based outside of SpainIn the case of the giants of the sector, such as Netflix, HBO Max or Amazon Prime Video. And although, at the request of ERC, the Government is willing to introduce “improvements” in the text already sent to Congress, at first it warned that it cannot force foreign platforms because it is prevented by the audiovisual communication services directive.

Is this community norm [aquí en PDF] the one that the Executive has transposed (with delay), and to which it clings to defend itself against the Republicans. But these say, in turn, that the directive don’t close the door to impose the percentages on service providers upon request. After knowing the threat of ERC, the Government graduated its refusal and urged the independence formation to work “together“during the parliamentary process to find a point of agreement without violating the community framework.

Article 13 of the European standard says that member states will ensure that operators “subject to their jurisdiction” dedicate 30% of their catalog to European works

However,what does Brussels say exactly? The legislation to which both parties refer is the Directive 2018/1808 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of November 14, 2018. Well, your article 13, which is the subject of discord, says in its first section this: “Member States shall ensure that providers of audiovisual communication services on request subject to its jurisdiction have a percentage of at least 30% of European works in their catalogs and guarantee the prominence of said works. “For the Pedro Sánchez Government, this wording makes it clear that the quotas for the protection of European audiovisual works are imposed on the operators of streaming “subject to its jurisdiction”. In other words, based in Spain.

40%, the co-officers; 60%, Spanish

The transposition of this section into Spanish legislation is the one that incorporates this shielding of Catalan, Basque and Galician: it is said that half of that 30% (15%) must be works in the official languages ​​of Spain and, of that subquota, 40% must be assigned to Catalan, Galician and Basque. 6% of those accounts come out. On the other hand, the reservation that RTVE will have to do for productions in languages ​​of the autonomous communities will be higher, 15%.

The precept also says that countries may require foreign production companies to contribute to finance European audiovisual works through direct investments in content and contributions to national funds.

ERC, on the other hand, emphasizes the second paragraph of the aforementioned article 13 of the 2018 directive: “When Member States require communication service providers under their jurisdiction to make a financial contribution to the production of European works, in particular through direct investments in content and contributions to national funds, may also require communication service providers aimed at audiences located in their territories but established in other Member States who make such contributions, which must be proportionate and non-discriminatory. ”

The second point refers, therefore, to the platforms that are based outside but that operate and have audiences, in this case, in Spain. But the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, headed by the first vice president, Nadia Calviño, emphasizes that this section refers to the fact that operators, based in Spain or outside of it, are obliged to produce European works. This is contemplated in the bill, as well as the requirement for all platforms to contribute to the financial support of RTVE.

Budgets and the legislative agenda at stake

ERC also recalls that the directive recognizes the promotion of languages ​​throughout the entire text. I know underlines the need that Member States ensure the “cultural and linguistic diversity“—Without specifying a limitation—, in addition to pluralism in the media, accessibility, non-discrimination, consumer protection or” fair “competition.

“For ERC the issue of language is sacred, and touching noses with this is a bad business,” says Rufián, who threatens his group’s veto of the PGE in the Senate

Now the government knows that it has to find a way out of the labyrinth. For now, the ministers of the Presidency and Finance, Félix Bolaños and María Jesús Montero, as well as the spokesman of the Socialist Group, Héctor Gómez, meet this Wednesday with the head of ERC in Madrid, Gabriel Rufián, to try to reduce the tension and redirect negotiations. Economy sources indicated to EL PERIÓDICO that the “commitment“Of the Government with the protection of the languages ​​is out of doubt and that it is now in the Congress where they have to look for meeting points, it is the moment to” work together “to reach a consensus. That is, they will try to hurry the possibilities that the community directive allows for satisfy to all parties without breaking the rules imposed by Brussels.

Rufián did not hide his anger at his press conference late on Tuesday in the lower house: “For ERC the issue of language is sacred, and touching noses with this is bad business“Not only is your group’s support for the audiovisual law at stake, but” all the scenarios are open, also in the Senate, regarding the General State Budgets. “That is, these could be vetoed by ERC, with the possibility that that one did not succeed. It will not be easy to tie supports, but it could happen. “The Budgets are very good and necessary for economic recovery. And the audiovisual law is now beginning its process,” they responded in Moncloa, seeking to separate the State accounts from the rule approved this Tuesday by the Council of Ministers.

No to “cheating”

The pro-independence spokesman also warned that the majority itself that allows the bipartisan PSOE and United We can complete its legislative agenda is in danger. “It’s convenient comply their commitments to ERC. “The Republicans hope that a new Executive commitment will be embodied through a document or a public act that links them to the pact, reports EFE.” What we are not going to happen is by participating in traps or try to show that nothing is happening here and that there are multinationals that are free and can do whatever they want. “” We respect the pacts and there is no multinational that has to whisper the laws to the government“, he riveted.

Calviño’s interference was also bad for the leadership of the Socialist Group, for undoing an agreement that had been made.

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In the Socialist Group, Calviño’s attitude also felt bad. At the top they indicated that the first vice president had burst in at a very delicate moment, with the Budgets still not closed, undoing an agreement that was already made, all because she was never favorable to quotas, they regret. A position that, however, was always shared by the socialist wing of the Executive, which preferred to encourage platforms with public aid and low taxation.

The Government does not have much time. The Friday, December 3, at 12 noon, the deadline for registering the proposals for the veto of the Budgets for 2022 (the entire text and the sections) ends, which will be discussed on the 9th. If any of the vetoes are successful –absolute majority is required, 133 votes—, then it would conclude its processing in the upper house and they would return to Congress, which would have to lift that veto with an absolute majority or, after two months, with a simple majority.


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