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The European legal framework for state aid for audiovisual industries

All aid schemes have to follow all relevant provisions of the Treaty of Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), not just ones related directly to the state aid. On the other hand, this means that principles prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of nationality, freedom of establishment, free movement of goods and freedom to provide services have to be respected. On the other hand, state aid regulation defines specific forms of discrimination that are accepted (e.g. territorial requirements). In order to be non-discriminatory, it is particularly important that a state aid scheme (major exceptions are introduced later in this report):
• is not directed to national exclusively or require beneficiaries to have the status of national undertaking established under national commercial law. All establishments of European undertakings that operate in
Finland by means of a permanent branch or agency, irrespective of their legal structure, should be eligible for the aid. Furthermore, the agency requirement should only be enforceable upon payment of the aid.
• does not impose discrimination based on the nationality of the personnel employed or the location of the eligible expenditure in side the Union.
• do not require workers of foreign companies providing filming services to comply with national labour standards.
A general framework for aids granted by Member States is set in the article 107 of TFEU. According to it, aid to promote culture and heritage conservation, where such aid does not affect trading conditions and competition in the Union to an extent that is contrary to the common interest, may be considered compatible with the internal market. In addition to the general framework, some audiovisual sectors have their own legal guidelines. As there has been only one case focusing on the state aid for video games, so far the European Union has not created specific recommendations for state aid directed to them. Public service broadcasting has its recommendations in the so-called Broadcasting Communication.
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