Media News - Wednesday, May 16, 2012
MEPs and the European Commission are embroiled in a dispute over what happened to EUR 8.7m originally intended for an EU-wide TV station. The commission put up the cash in a call for tender in 2008 for a Europe-wide broadcaster - "EU TV" - that was to pool existing TV organisations and channels into one body beaming programmes to around 150 million viewers. It attracted several serious bids, including from ETVN - a consortium of 25 broadcasters from 13 different countries, including Belgium's RTBF, Italy's Rai and TV5 Monde from France, headed by the Geneva-based European Broadcasting Union. The project was to go live in 2011. But on 25 January 2011 justice commissioner Viviane Reding pulled the plug later saying it would have incurred excessive costs of between EUR 41.5m and EUR 70m over its five-year lifespan. For his part, Danish Liberal MEP Morten Lokkegaard says the move has nothing to do with austerity because the commission diverted the money for its own "pet projects." The deputy, who co-chairs parliament's culture committee, is also annoyed that Reding did not follow protocol. The culture committee has put EUR 4.5m of the EU's 2012 budget "in reserve" until the commission re-establishes the EU TV project, discloses all the contracts benefitting from the old EUR 8.7m and puts out a comprehensive communication strategy. (EU Observer)
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