EU dubious about 'cultural' French video games

22nd November 2006, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, Nov 22, 2006 (AFP) - EU regulators said Wednesday they were opening an investigation into whether proposed tax breaks for the French video games industry constituted legal support for "genuine cultural projects".

BRUSSELS, Nov 22, 2006 (AFP) - EU regulators said Wednesday they were opening an investigation into whether proposed tax breaks for the French video games industry constituted legal support for "genuine cultural projects".

The European Commission said that it wanted to determine whether the proposed tax credits for French video game makers distorted competition or promoted culture as provided by EU rules and as claimed by Paris.

The European Union's executive arm said an initial probe had raised "doubts" that the tax breaks met EU rules, which allow state aid that promotes culture as long as it does not harm competition and trade between member states.

"We must be sure that the measure will promote only genuine cultural projects and that it will not have the effect of an industrial policy instrument in favour of the video games sector," Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said.

Under the proposed scheme, French video game production studios could benefit from a tax credit worth 20 percent of the cost of producing video games that meet a range of criteria.

In order to qualify, the video game would have to be an adaptation of an existing work of European origin or pass a test of quality, originality of concept and contribution to the expression of European cultural diversity and creativity.

However, the commission said that the criteria "may give rise to a potentially broad interpretation and it is not clear that they make it possible to select only video games with a cultural content."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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