In an official letter to the Belgian authorities dated January 13, 2010, Neelie Kroes states that the European Commission considers the Wallimage and Wallimage/Bruxellimage aid schemes for the production of audiovisual works “compatible with the internal market”. In fact, it meets all the conditions imposed by the Commission in its Cinema Communication.
This decision marks a very important step in the development of intervention systems in this sector in Belgium, since the Fund, which operates under the supervision of Jean-Claude Marcourt, Walloon Minister for the Economy, has thus seen the legitimization of its mechanism – innovative for Belgium – for economic support to audiovisual cultural works. Initiated by the Walloon Region and joined in June 2009 by the Brussels-Capital Region, Wallimage and its subsidiary Wallimage Coproductions operate via two dedicated funding lines, one for Wallonia, the other for Wallonia and the Brussels-Capital Region jointly.
But this recognition is also much appreciated on the European scene, where Regional Investment Funds for the film and audiovisual industries now account for over 25% of public investment in the sector. A study by the Observatoire Européen de l’Audiovisuel (European Audiovisual Observatory) is set to prove this at a much-anticipated conference at the forthcoming Cannes Film Festival. Regional investment is the only one to have risen in recent years, while funding from public and, above all, private television channels has declined sharply.
Mr. Sören Poelsen, current President of Ciné-Régio, the European association of Regional Funds, sent his warmest congratulations from Aarhus, Denmark, to the Director of Wallimage, Mr. Philippe Reynaert, past-president and founder of this coordination, which now has 32 members in 12 European countries. To date, only the German and Catalan Regional Funds have been authorized by the European Commission. If we take into account the very special status of the German Länders and Spanish Generalidad, Wallonia and Bruxelles-Capitale can therefore be considered the first federated regions to gain this precious recognition.
The Commission’s authorization is valid until December 31, 2015.
To find out more, click HERE . This link leads to the State Aid Register