Memo January 2003


A memo sent to correspondents, friends and acquaintances of the Budapest Observatory (BO) in January 2003

We have entered the last pre-enlargement year. This 2003 will serve for point of reference, when conditions in the enlarged Union are related to the past.

EU Observer
The section on EU-news on BO site has been refurbished. The guideline for selection remains the same, applying the double filters of relevance to east-central Europe on the one hand and to the general conditions (finances, legislation, policy etc.) of cultural life on the other. Entries will remain on display as long as they retain such relevance and certain freshness. Here you can learn more about the issues highlighted in the following few passages.

European audio-visual landscape
Early in January a new report was adopted on the European audio-visual landscape. This shows both continued dynamism and stability. The number of television channels covering at least one member state has exploded to over 800. However, the average viewer's behaviour shows little change: there has been no switch to new media at the expense of television watching; the TV audience is concentrated around a limited number of channels; the respective market shares of public and private channels have remained stable.

The European subordination vis-à-vis the United States remained the same. In 2000, the trade deficit of the EU was 8 billion dollars for all audiovisual services, half of which consisted of television rights.

Five east-central European countries were allowed to queue up at the start line of the 2002 round of Media, the EU support programmes for films. They took the hurdles with 18 winning projects, collecting about 2,5 million euros, out of the altogether 400 million that Media will spend over five years. Poland was particularly successful, with wins in several major and minor categories. Bulgarians fared second, with four projects: worthy of attention is Sofia Film Festival, financed at about 50% by the EU.   

As a sad memento, find here the copy of an entry of BO Memo, May 2002:

0.054 %

Just above the half of the tenth of a percentage. This number indicates that between 1996 and 2001, on the average, 54 out of 100 000 cinema goers in the European Union went to see a film from east and central Europe.

There are many indicators which are more encouraging than this one; but this is one which brutally tells a field where it takes a long, long journey for us to catch up with western Europe. (Source: European Audiovisual Observatory)

Will authors profit from library lending?
Public lending rights are a new concept in east-central Europe. In the Union, a directive established the main principles in 1992: authors are entitled to remuneration after the lending of their works, including from public and educational libraries. The countries received large freedom as to the modalities of implementing this principle. A recent report suggests that several member states misused this freedom and are seriously lagging behind.

European added value
Heard and read all too often, you may have used this expression too, without full certainty about the meaning. The EU cultural ministers took the trouble to define it at their last Council meeting. (Shortcut:

Major cultural research project
Interarts in Barcelona, in conjunction with EFAH, won the EU tender on facts and trends of cultural cooperation in Europe. Findings will be used for the preparation of future strategies, after Culture 2000 expires. The scope of the investigation includes east-central Europe, so BO will contribute, in one or other way. For more, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">Jordi.

WIPO comes to grips with folklore?
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) promises to release a practical guide on the legal protection of traditional cultural expressions in 2003. Folklore being of great significance to our region, we are looking forward. For more, see

Circle site
New contents, new structure, new address, successful face lift, worth a visit ** -

The Circle-Culturelink conference in Zagreb will examine the impact of information, communication and knowledge industries on (European) cultural policies. Most of Circle protagonists are ‘generalists' in cultural policy, few stick to one or other cultural field. For the yearly round tables, however, specialists are also involved, masters in the theme of the year. The institutional background of one of our speakers in April, to provide an example, is: eCulture Research Programme Leader, International Institute of Infonomics, European Centre for Digital Communication, Maastricht. Who could ask for more?

Ilona Kish is British, a Brussels resident
You may be wondering, which author would start what story or script with these words... But most of you already know that this is a quote from the EFAH press release, announcing the new Coordinator of the organisation. Welcome, Ilona, we wish you success.

Wanted: a director
Those who were among the dozens who applied but did not become EFAH coordinators, are facing an even greater challenge. A new grantmaking initiative in south-eastern Europe needs a director. Be quick, there is an imminent interim deadline. 

No inhibitions
BO has grown. It takes longer every month for the computer to process and send our memo to the list of supposed friends. Another sign of reaching age is that the first unsubscribe requests have arrived here. If you feel so, do not hesitate; be laconic, giving details might hurt.