The Education, Youth and Culture Council will be held on 24-25 May in Brussels. I will be representing the UK on 24 May when Culture and Audiovisual issues will be taken. Education and Youth issues will be taken on 25 May.
The first item on the agenda concerns the Council Conclusions on the contribution of the cultural and creative sectors to the achievement of the Lisbon objectives. Following the publication of a study on the Economy of Culture in Europe prepared for the European Commission last year, there has been an impetus within the Culture Council to ensure that the importance of the cultural and creative sectors (particularly in employment terms) remains on the political agenda of the EU. At the beginning of this year the German presidency proposed a set of draft Council Conclusions for negotiation by the Commission and member states based on that report's recommendations. These have been finalised at official level and the Council is now expected to adopt the Conclusions at this meeting. I intend to support the adoption of these Conclusions.
The presidency will then seek to reach political agreement on proposals to amend the Television Without Frontiers Directive. The proposals before the Council are a significant improvement on those which the European Commission originally published in December 2005. In particular, their scope is considerably narrower. Instead of applying potentially damaging regulation to a very wide range of iternet and other new media services as the December 2005 proposals would have done, the amended proposals will apply only to television and television-like on demand services, in particular video-on-demand. They will also meet the Government's requirements in other respects, in particular by preserving the “Country of Origin” principle for assigning jurisdiction over cross-border services and by cutting down detailed EU regulation of television advertising. I therefore intend to endorse these proposals in the Council.
Under Any Other Business, the Council is invited to adopt a decision on the selection of two member states with a view to the nomination by the Council of two experts in the selection panel for the European Capital of Culture Community Action. The presidency will provide information regarding the ongoing work on the Third Work Plan for Culture. The presidency will also provide feedback on expert conferences in the field of culture and the “More trust in content” expert conference organised by the German presidency. The Commission will do a presentation on a European agenda for culture in a globalising world. I do not expect to intervene on any of these items.