2007 in a nutshell…

  • Culture and creative industries, and in particular the sector’s SMEs, finally become an official part of Europe’s Lisbon strategy.
  • European Parliament interrogates EC Commissioner Kroes twice during the year on her decision to approve the SonyBMG merger.
  • SMEs in the cultural and creative sectors gain highest possible recognition that: a) they are Europe’s drivers of innovation, creativity, growth and employment; and b) they need specific support measures.
  • First ever European Communication on Culture which led to establishing an Agenda for Culture. Priorities include developing the cultural and creative industries and specifically SMEs.
  • EC Commissioner for competition, Neelie Kroes recognises that preferential treatment for SMEs is both “politically and economically justifiable”.
  • EC starts integrating culture in all other policy areas under the new Agenda for Culture. This “mainstreaming” of culture should open up a new debate to improve traditional policy areas such as competition, internal market, trade and tax etc.
  • All member states, again, for the first time ever, will meet on a regular basis to discuss not just EC policy, but their own national policies – under the “open method of co-ordination”.
  • EC holds first ever European Cultural Forum, hosted by the Portuguese Presidency.
  • France indicates it will support lower VAT on music and will re-open the debate when it takes over the EC presidency in the second half of 2008.
  • The new EC Treaty elevates cultural diversity and intellectual property as fundamental treaty rights.
  • Cultural policy decisions to be taken by qualified majority under the new Treaty instead of unanimity of all member states.
  • The European Commission finally sets precedent in Universal/BMG that major music mergers need remedies, after re-approving Sony/BMG for a second time despite IMPALA’s court victory in 2006.
  • EC sets out for the first time ever a concrete list of problems regarding Universal’s market power as the worlds biggest record company and publisher, controlling more than half the world’s music (Universal/BMG decision).
  • French reach groundbreaking agreement on ISP collaboration.
  • European Court reaches opinion in favour of IMPALA, that it was right to annul the SonyBMG merger.
  • "Creeping dominance" arguments raised with regulators at EC and national level, following Universal's acquisition of a series of key European independents.
  • UNESCO Convention on cultural diversity enters into force, becoming part of EC law.
  • Through the UNESCO Convention, the principle of fair and equitable access to the means of creating, producing, distributing and disseminating music and other cultural expressions becomes part of EC law.
  • EC President Barroso intervenes (very beginning of the year) in the private copying debate to put an end to the bid to challenge this vital source of income.
  • After just two years, IMPALA awards reach a total of 500, representing 50million units sold and three quarters of a billion euros.

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"IMPALA will continue to work hard to ensure that independent voices are heard in the negotiations"