Brussels (Brussels Morning) In an attempt to save multicultural media in Europe, MEPs urged the European Commission to continue funding the 15-year old pan-European Euranet Plus radio network.
The European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) voted overwhelmingly yesterday for continued funding, with 584 in favour, 35 against and 7 abstentions.
MEPs argued for a transitional grant agreement that would help the pan-European media network get back on its feet, enabling it to “to draw up a long-term development plan, making the digital shift and investing in further improvements of its products and services”.
“A two-year, direct transitional grant should be provided to Euranet Plus until 2024 to help the network restructure and adapt to public calls”, MEPs suggested.
The CULT Committee insisted the Commission acknowledge the “unique nature and high-quality reporting” of Euranet Plus in providing a “truly pan-European coverage” of EU affairs in 13 member states.
Euranet Plus has been actively reporting EU affairs for the past 15 years, “successfully bridging the information gap between the EU and its citizens by strengthening understanding of all fields of EU policy-making”, CULT Committee chairperson, MEP Sabine Verheyen (EPP), stated.
MEPs maintained that to cut off this source of information would hamper the right to information for the many EU citizens who rely on Euranet Plus to keep them abreast of EU policy developments at home.
“The pan-European media network represents a unique gateway to EU affairs for more than 15 million listeners on a daily basis”, Verheyen noted.
Parliamentarians said the Commission’s intention to stop direct support for Euranet Plus on 31 December 2021 would effectively liquidate the Euranet Plus central office in Brussels and render the workforce unemployed.
According to the Commission, the 2021 financing decision on multimedia actions envisages a provision of 2.2 million euro to continue supporting radio network activities, on the basis of an open call for proposals.
“Euranet Plus should be given the opportunity to equip the organisation to prepare for the competitive process that could then start in 2024 and grant multiannual financing contracts”, Verheyen concluded.
Euranet Plus is a Brussels-based cooperation network made up of public and private radio broadcasters operating in 13 EU countries. It broadcasts in 13 languages and unites broadcasters from Latvia, Poland, Bulgaria, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Belgium, Slovenia, Luxembourg and Greece.