The EU at large(r)

On May 16th, AEPO-ARTIS organised a seminar on the EU enlargement and the impact hereof on performer rights. With representatives from three different EC Departments, performer organisations from a.o. Türkiye, Serbia, North Macedonia and Georgia and over 65 participants, the seminar was a succesfull first step towards a strong future collaboration with performers and their organisations in the EU Candidate Member States.

No fewer than 9 countries are currently officially recognised candidates for membership of the European Union. With Kosovo* as recognised potential candidate, the total adds up to ten. The seminar’s morning session was kicked off by Marie-Sophie Peyre from DG Near who succinctly explained the political objective behind the enlargement and carefully explained the entire accession procedure and the general status of each individual candidate.

Willy Kokolo from DG EAC took a closer look at the role culture plays in the enlargement. While pointing out that the EU still does not have an full competence on Culture, he explained that there is however a thing called the “EU cultural acquis” that candidate member states need to embrace. In addition he explained to what extent the programmes connected to the current EU Workplan for Culture are already used to strengthen the cooperation with candidates.

The morning was concluded by Lucia Livianas from the Copyright Unit at DG Connect who provided participants with a very detailed overview of the status of implementation of the EU copyright framework in each individual candidate member state. It gave rise to interesting discussions about how in its assessment, the transposition of the CDSM directive by candidates can be compared to the transposition by the EU member states.

The afternoon of the seminar was broken up in a session focussing on the audiovisual market and one looknig at the specificities of the music market.

Hrvoje Hribar opened the session on the audiovisual sector by sharing his years of experience in working in the Western Balkan film industry, which has proven to be a particularly interwoven industry in all its segments. That crossborder collaboration is also very present within the actors community and their collective management organisations became clear from the subsequent panel discussion that had experts on the collective management for actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Uroš Rožič), Serbia (Nikolina Vujinović) and North Macedonia (Damjan Grozdanovski) gathered.It became clear from the discussion that the path to EU membership and implementation of the copyright acquis was necessary to start up collective management for actors in several countries. However, it also became clear that several countries have seized the opportunity to give their actors a lavel of protection that exceeds the European minimum and for which their collective management orgisations received full competence.

The music session was introduced by Balázs Weyer from the Creative Europe supported MOST Music Project. This project is a good example of how the EU uses its soft competences in culture to already promote the collaboration with the cultural sector in candidate member states. The presentation was followed by a panel discussion with CMO’s operating in Türkiye, Georgia and Serbia. In sharing their experiences, Murat Yildiz and Aylin Aslım (Müyorbir), Stefan Schulz (IPOA) and Aleksandar Cvetković (PI) made it clear that musicians outside of the EU are facing the same challenges as those within. The pursuit of fair remuneration for streaming and other forms of digital exploitation of their music is at the top of their priority list. And here too, they are increasingly looking at their CMOs to make this happen.

After a whole day of exchanging expertise and experiences, it became clear that collective management for the rights of musicians and actors is part of a European reality that is not limited to the current borders of the EU. The impending expansion will not only result in a larger single market for musicians and actors, but also for their collective management organisations. Strengthening their cooperation with a view to obtaining the best protection for our performers is therefore what AEPO-ARTIS will strongly focus on in the coming years.

Watch the video from the seminar: