Select Committee on European Communities Eleventh Report



Letter from the Rt Hon Chris Smith MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  I am writing to bring you up to date with developments on the revision of the EC Broadcasting Directive, and to respond to the Committee's 9th Report (Session 1996-97) on this matter, which was published on 4 March, prior to the meeting of the Conciliation Committee.

  In her letter of 27 February, Virginia Bottomley welcomed the lifting of the scrutiny reserve, and undertook to inform you of the outcome of negotiations on the Directive. As the Council had been unable to accept the European Parliament's amendments in full, the inter-institutional conciliation procedure was invoked and the Conciliation Committee met on 16 April. A joint text was agreed and notified to the European Parliament and Council on 27 May 1997. The Directive amending the 1989 Directive was formally adopted by the European Parliament on 10 June 1997 and by the Council on 19 June 1997.

  As well as the joint text, I enclose herewith copies of the new Directive (97/36/EC), and a consolidated version of the Directive, which although an unofficial text, enables the reader to avoid continuous cross-referencing between the two Directives [not printed]. I also attach an Explanatory Memorandum which sets out these concluding stages of the codecision procedure, and notes the Government's satisfaction with the outcome on the two principal issues of substance which remained to be resolved at the conciliation stage; the V-chip and sports rights [not printed]. I particularly welcome the establishment of a system of mutual recognition on broadcast sports rights, which provides protection across the European Community for the UK's listed events provisions. I recall the strength of feeling expressed in support of public access to major events in the House of Lords during the passage of the Broadcasting Act 1996, and believe the new Directive reflects a similar desire across Europe.

  Overall, I believe the revisions which have now been adopted have secured all of the UK's main objectives, and in doing so have strengthened the Directive. I think it is important to bear in mind that the Directive is primarily a Single Market measure, and as such, has been an important factor in allowing UK broadcasters access to European markets, and to the development of the United Kingdom's flourishing audiovisual sector. I welcome your Committee's continuing recognition of the importance of these matters.

25 July 1997

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 1998