EMMANUEL Macron has pledged to restrict market access to the European Union’s markets for Britain’s creative industry in order to protect “cultural diversity” in France.
The French President confirmed he will maintain his country’s opposition to include audiovisual services in any future free trade agreements signed by the EU including Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with the bloc. The under fire politician reaffirmed his position after the French Coalition on the Consequences of Brexit for Cultural Diversity pushed him to obtain an explicit mention of the the exclusion of audiovisual service from the UK’s new relationship with the EU. Pascal Rogard, president of the French Brexit action group, also insisted Mr Macron should secure an explicit mention of the exclusion as a “cultural exception” in the trade deal.
In a letter, Mr Macron said: “France has consistently defended the exclusion of audiovisual services from free trade agreements.
“This is an essential issue, which concerns the protection of cultural diversity.
“Our country has made it a major point in every trade negotiation. It has thus obtained, in all the free trade agreements the EU has concluded, the exclusion of audiovisual services.
“France will defend an explicit mention in the directives that the Council of the EU will adopt and which will frame the negotiation of the free trade agreement between the EU and the UK, of the exclusion of audiovisual services, in accordance to the principle of protection of cultural diversity.”
France has long defended its “cultural exception”with subsidies quotas and tax breaks to protect French films, music and television from the global market.
In 2013, EU trade ministers reached an agreement that complied with a French request for the audiovisual sector to be excluded from a free trade agreement with the United States, a so-called cultural exception that would protect it from US dominance.
France guards its cultural sector, which includes French television stations – They are required to air at least 40 percent of home-produced content with another 20 percent coming from Europe before American content gets a look in.