The Commission has approved a proposal from Mr. Marcelino Oreja, Commissioner responsible for culture and the audiovisual media, for a MEDIA II programme to promote and develop the European audiovisual programme industry. The proposed resources to be allocated to the programme for the period 1996 to 2000 are ECU 400 million, to be distributed in three areas corresponding to the requirements of the single audiovisual market: - Support for training; - Development of programmes with a European dimension; - Transnational distribution of European programmes. The European programme industry is running a large deficit on its home market. Non-European material currently accounts for more than 80% of cinema showings and between 55% and 60% of television broadcasting time. The industry must also respond to the new challenges peresented by the information society. New types of programmes will have to be produced, requiring new distribution channels and demanding new forms of professional competence. The three priority lines of the MEDIA II programme are: - Support for training: The professional competence of the European industry must be adapted if jobs are to be created in the industry. Community action on this front will supplement and reinforce management training schemes in the industry and encourage access to new audiovisual production technologies. The Community's task will be to support the action taken by the Member States, stimulate cooperation between teaching and training establishments and firms and develop exchanges of know-how and experience. -Developing European productions: The shortcomings of European audiovisual marketing tend to lie in poor investment at the preproduction and development stages (writing, financial engineering, market research). But this is the stage at which the future track record of a production is predetermined. The objective is to facilitate the development of cinema and TV productions with European potential that aim at a significant market share. The Commission will be acting under Article 130 of the EC Treaty to support project development where there is a European dimension in the marketing strategy. It will be looking to regional and national authorities to develop their involvement in these matters likewise. - Transnational distribution of audiovisual material: European material suffers from a lack of transnational distribution facilities (for cinema films), but there is also far too little routine cooperation between TV distributors to guarantee a full audience for audiovisual works (fiction and documentaries). The objectives of the programme can be sumarized as follows: - Cinema: Encourage the distribution on the European market of a hundred or so films a year by offering distributors in different countries incentives to organize themselves along network lines and get involved in financing new productions; - Television: Increase the distribution of European works broadcast on television by promoting co-productions both between TV companies and independent producers; - Financing: Support will be given in the form of loans never exceeding 50% of the cost of the project supported, except that Community support for training schemes may be given in the form of non-repayable grants of up to 75%. Support for dubbing and sub-titling will also be a major MEDIA II activity. The support for this will also be in the form of non-repayable grants.