In an official letter to the Belgian authorities on 13 January 2010, Mrs. Neelie Kroes states that the European Commission considers the aid systems for the production of audiovisual works, Wallimage and Wallimage/Bruxellimage, ’compatible with the internal market.’ Indeed, all conditions imposed by the Commission in its Cinema Communication are met.
This decision marks a very important step in the development of the intervention systems for this sector in Belgium because the Fund, evolving under the responsibility of Jean-Claude Marcourt, Walloon Minister of Economy, receives legitimization of its mechanism – which is innovative in Belgium – of economic aid to cultural audiovisual works. Initiated by the Walloon Region and joined by the Brussels Capital Region in 2009, Wallimage and its subsidiary Wallimage Coproductions work with two financing lines, one devoted to Wallonia, and the other to Wallonia and the Brussels Capital Region together.
But this recognition is also very much appreciated on the European scene, where the Regional Investment Funds for cinema and audiovisual now represent more than 25% of public investments in the sector. A study directed by the European Audiovisual Observatory should provide proof of this with a much-awaited conference during the next Cannes Festival. The investments of the regions are the only ones rising these last few years while we see a sharp decline in financing stemming from public and especially from private television chains.
Mr. Sören Poelsen, president of Ciné-Régio, the European association of Regional Funds, from Aarhus in Denmark, sent his deepest congratulations to the Director of Wallimage, Mr. Philippe Reynaert, past president and founder of this organisation, which today is comprised of 32 members spread out over 12 European countries. Indeed, to this day, only the German and Catalan Regional funds had received such an authorisation from the European Commission. If we take into account the very particular statute of the German Länder and the Spanish Generalidad, then Wallonia and Brussels-Capital can be considered as the first federated regions to obtain this precious recognition.
The authorisation by the Commission is valid until 31 December 2015.
To know more, click HERE . The link leads to the State aid registry.