In follow-up to our exchange of correspondence around our position paper, we met with interlocutors at technical level with DG CNECT to pursue the dialogue, obtain clarification on some points and discuss how EBU can best accompany the Commission’s efforts.
Our key messages in the meeting were: to regret that, while audio description and audio subtitling are already eligible in the production and the distribution schemes of MEDIA, EACEA, the agency that manages MEDIA funding, sadly does not track beneficiaries; to welcome that all MEDIA applicants will be asked to commit to promote diversity and inclusiveness in their company strategies, and that this horizontal criterion will be taken into account in the selection of the projects, and call for bench-marking of concrete action for visually impaired persons. We clarified that it probably best to apply our recommend target (25% of films receiving MEDIA funding include AD and AST) to the promotion and distribution sub-branch, to prioritise films distributed in different languages. That would ensure compliance with the subsidiarity principle (cross-border dimension) and at the same time target the more successful films that reach a wider audience. This suggestion was very welcome by the Commission interlocutors.
In the meeting we learned: that the 2021 Work Programme for 2021 will be approved in May at earliest, and the call for proposals will be launched in June, with a retroactivity back to January 2021; that over the 7 year period, the annual work programmes will not change much, just a couple of new lines and activities; that it is too late to influence the content of the 2021 Work Programme, but our advocacy is useful in view of the next round. The 2022 Work Programme will be adopted this summer.
To support our recommendations, DG CNECT interlocutors have asked us to provide intelligence on the practice of the industry, to ensure added value of EU funding for accessible films. This has led us to send an action request to our members in the EU, to ask them to contact their national film funding agencies and ask them to respond to a questionnaire – prepared with the advice of our German member DBSV acting as campaign leader.
EU Disability Rights Strategy.
On 27 April we released the EBU position paper in which we provide a more detailed reaction on the new EU Disability Rights Strategy for this decade, after our initial reaction in March. We communicated about it, and invited our members to do so as well. When sending the paper to Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli and other contacts at all levels at the European Commission, we expressed gratitude for the very substantial and in depth dialogue toward this Strategy with organisations representing persons with disabilities and pointed out that, despite our regretting some weaknesses in the Strategy, we are content that many of our recommendations were taken on board and we believe the Strategy provides a sound framework for effective progress in this decade.
Shortly before releasing our position paper, we attended a Disability Intergroup event on the Strategy, to express some key messages contained in our paper and announce it.
We have submitted our response to the European Commission’s public consultation aiming to gather information whether it is necessary to extend the Marrakesh Treaty Directive provisions to non-print works and more types of disabilities in Europe. We used that opportunity to raise the visibility of our demands related to Creative Europe/MEDIA.
On 22 April, we submitted the EBU response to the EU survey on gender-based violence, in which we focused on the questions concerning women and girls with disabilities. Our response used feedback from an EBU internal survey in which our Women network took a big part.
We circulated to our members the fourth of our series of ‘How To’ campaigning tips memos. After the first three memos respectively on the position paper, on the advocacy meeting and on the strategy, this memo focuses on how to use Twitter for campaigning. It comes in 17 linguistic versions – English, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Serbian, Spanish and Swedish – and is also available on request. This fourth memo is to be seen in the context of preparing for two Twitter-based communication campaigns in the framework of our PARVIS project.
We attended the following events:
The Disability High Level Group (9 April). This was the last meeting of this Group, to be replaced this year by the new Disability Platform announced in the EU Disability Rights Strategy, which the Commission sees as a strengthening of the Group. Noteworthy was the presentation by Ernst & Young of its study for the European Commission on the EU Disability Card pilot project, to assess the implementation and whether there is scope for extension. In its conclusions, the study supported this as the only solution to allow the mutual recognition of the disability status. The study however recommends to look carefully at subsidiarity. The Commission announced that there will be another study ahead of its 2023 proposal.
The Portuguese Presidency High Level Conference on the EU Disability Rights Strategy 2021-2030 (19-20 April), where we noted the following:
- Commissioner Dalli asked for endorsement by the Member States at the European Council of June.
- Accessibility: the Commission announced that it is preparing a new standardisation mandate in follow-up to the European Accessibility Act.
- Disability Card: the Commission contemplated the possibility of expanding it to labour mobility; Member States reacted rather positively, maybe too much: some of them announced that they were setting up a card scheme (i.e. without waiting for the EU proposal).
- Disability Platform: all Member States welcomed the announced new tool for exchange of information and best practices; the Commission said that the platform should also have a role of monitoring implementation of EU rules.
- Disability-related targets and indicators: the Eurostat director said the issue is high on their agenda, in all areas covered by the Strategy, and that it is the responsibility of Member States to provide comparable data at national level, using existing indicators and going beyond surveys to the population.
- The German representative expressed support for a portfolio of Commissioner for Disability.
The second Strategic Dialogue meeting on the EU Child Guarantee (29 April), represented by Cecilia Ekstrand (SRF, Sweden) where the European Commission announced the adoption of the guarantee in June, followed by national action plans within 6 months and national reports every two years. The participation of civil society organisations is important at national level. Note: the Child Guarantee provides guidance and funding for Member States to support children in need, i.e. persons under the age of 18 at risk of poverty or social exclusion.