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Home arrow newsitems arrow EUCommission v.President Ansip to EF: Digital Tech. for Citizens Access + Authors Reward on Culture

EUCommission v.President Ansip to EF: Digital Tech. for Citizens Access + Authors Reward on Culture

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 22 November 2016
 
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Modern Digital Technologies and EU's Single Market are Able to Ensure, at the Same Time, Both Better Citizens' Access, and Fair Remuneration to Authors, for the Preservation and Promotion of the European Heritage, replied, in Substance, the competent Vice-President of the European Commission, Andrus Ansip^, to an "Eurofora"'s relevant Query.


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   Raising 2 relevant Questions on the Sidelines of an EU/CoE Conference about Digital Data Protection, organized by the PanEuropean AudioVisual Observatory of the CoE, with the Participation of vice-President Ansip, s Key-note Peaker, "Eurofora", Started by Reminding the Fact that the current President of EU Commission, former Long-Time Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, had Drafted a Landmark Report on the Future of EU - CoE Cooperation, in a New Architecture of Europe, after being Invited to do so by the Heads of State/Government of the 47 Member Countries of the CoE, at their 2005 Summit in Varsaw, Poland.

 
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    - In this regard, By a Coincidence, this Same Day, in CoE's Committee of Ministers, was Anounced, (by the Incoming Cyprus' CoE Presidency for November 2016 - May 2017) a Project about the Legal Protection of Cultural Heritage, spreading up to Next year (2017), and, since Digital Technologies, Both from the point of view of Copyright, and from that of Common Market, are very Important, in order to Protect and Promote the Cultural Heritage, could yu kindly tell us what would be your ideas on How to Build the Horizon of this Junction between Cultural Heritage, Digital Technologies, and Copyright ?"


    - "Don't you think, in this regard, that Europe has a great Potential in this area, which sould be Both Protected and Promoted ?", "Eurofora" asked Ansip.


    - "Thank you for this substantial, but wide Question", reacted Positively with a Smile, EU Commission's vice President, who had Earlier taken himself the Initiative to Evoke also Culture. 

- "I think that the whole Idea of the Digital Single Market is meant (also in order) to Protect our (EU's) Cultural Heritage, and to Improve Access to those MasterPieces created by our Artists, and I Hope Everyone will realize that", he stressed from the outset, practicaly Agreeing with "Eurofora"s main observation, (See Above).

    - "As you know, our (EU's) Aim is to provide Better Access to Digital Contents for our Citizens, and, at the Same Time, our Aim is also to provide Fair Remuneration to our Authors", Andrus Ansip^pointed out, as a matter of General Principle. Indeed, - "I canNot see a Contradiction between those 2 Aims", he acknowledged.


    - "Last May, we (EU) Launched a Digital Single Market Strategy, while on December we presented Priority Proposals, and, one of the very First was about the portability of the Content. Today, 20% of European Citizens are Spending at least 10 Days each Year in anOther (EU) Country. And Many of those Travelling somewhere in other EU Countries would like to get Legally Access to their Digital Content. But, because of Copyright Restrictions, they canNot", he Denounced.


    - However, "for some Other People, that's Not a big Problem" : F.ex., for them "VPN is Available"... "So, 20% of Internet Users in the EU are used to Pay in order to get thus Access to Digital Content, and, since it's not free of charge, they just Pay 6 or 10 € for one of 2 Month, 20 € for 3 Months, etc., without even thinking that they are doing something in the Wrong Way. But, there is a Problem : Authors are Not Remunerated", he observed.


    - And "68% of interviewed EU Citizens said that they are using so-called "Free Goggles". "But, once again, there is a Problem : Authors are Not Remunerated". "So, somehow, as I said many times, with our (EU's) Regulations, we are Pushing People to those so-called "Free Goggles", he Warned.


    >>> - In fact, "We (EU), have to Tackle Piracy, but, First, we have also to Provide Legal Access to Digital Content for our People !" the Competent EU Commission's vice-President Urged.


    - "So, concerning the Portability of Content :" Of course, "we (EU) will Protect the Principle of Territoriality, But, for me, it's Difficult to Understand when People are Asking for Absolute for Territorial Exclusivity", Ansip Denounced.


    - Indeed, "Is there absolute Territorial Exclusivity, when, already, at least 20% of EU Citizens use VPN, while 68% use Free Goggles ?", he critically wondered. "My Understanding about Absolute Exclusivity is Differend : Absolute Exclusivity can be either Zero %, or 100%, but this kind of Exclusivity is very Relative"...


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    + "Our (EU Commission's) 2nd Reform Package is also about Cultural Heritage" indeed, vice-President Ansip observed, pointing Closer to "Eurofora"'s original Question, (See Above).


     - We proposed also a special regulation for Preservation purposes by Cultural Heritage Institutions : F.ex., concerning Museums, or Archives, etc, Change from one Carrier to anOther, (f.ex. DSHL to Fiber, or to DVD, etc) may be a Big Challenge and have a High Level of Administrative Costs", he  observed.


    => - "We (EU) Want to Cut those Administrative Costs, and Provide Access for People to all those Masterpieces Created by Artists", he stressed.


     >>> Because "Cultural Heritage is a Great Value", EU Commission's vice-President underlined.


     - "But it will be Much Better when this woN't be Blocked in Archives or Museums, so that People will have Access to Cultural Heritage !", Ansip pointed out, as a matter of Principle.


    + "So we (EU Commission) proposed also to Extend  the uses of Cultural Origin principle", as well as "of Collective Licensing", to "at least Double the Volume of" (relevant Digital) "Content which will Cross Borders for Access by our Citizens", etc., he added.


    => "I think that Everybody will Benefit, if we (EU) are Anle to Reach those Aims" : i.e. "Both Creators, and our (EU's) Citizens", the Competent EU Commissioner, optimisticaly observed, pointing at the Heart of the Matter.


     + Moreover, "a Lot of Other Proposals were made, so that Cultural Heritage can also ensure a Fair Remuneration of our Authors", since, "if they are Not Remunerated, then, Nobody will Provide", preserve and present "no more such real Masterpieces", he went on to add.


     - Nevertheless, Many among them, "f.ex. Musicians, are Unhappy. They say that they are Not fairly Remunerated", etc. "They are Complaining about Platforms for Distribution".

 
    - But, "there are very Differend Platforms" : F.ex., "Platforms based on Subscription, where there are 68 Millions of Users per Month, Contributing for about 2 Bilions € to Musicians".


    - "At the same time, there are some Other Platfroms, supported by Advertizing, and they have 1 Billion Users per Month, but they are Contributing just 643 Millions € to Musicians, who, of course, are UnHappy...


    - "So : 68 Millions of Users = 2 Billions €", in the First Case.  But "1 Billion Users = just 0,6 Billion €", he noted.


    Therefore, "we (EU) tried to make it more Clear : When Platforms are Selling many Value-Added Products, but withOut Remuneration, f.ex. by Advertizing, they say that it's Not well Known what happens there, Because we are just Neutral Intermediaries", etc.


    - So, we Tried to Find some Other kinds of Platforms of Distribution, which are Not so Expensive, but Allow for Authors to be more Fairly Remunerated, Ansip pointed out.   

 
    In this regard, f.ex., "YouTube" is Not the only one... In the case of anOther, for 10.000 Songs, you have to Pay some 400 € in Total : it's not too much", he observed.


    >>> "Once Again" : What matters most, is "to Provide Better Access to Digital Content, and to Provide (also) Fair Remuneration to our Authors" : Both Those 2 Things are very Important for this Matter,  the competent EU Commission's vice-President reiterated in Conclusion of his Reply to "Eurofora"s above-mentioned Question.



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 imag0972_400


    Scientific innovation joined to Faith for Human Rights, Eastern Partnership and fight against the Crisis, but above all, the need to overcome the "Crisis of Trust" from EU Citizens, are the main priorities for new EU Parliament's President, Polish Jerzy Buzek, that a 555-votes-strong majority of MEPs on July 14,  Strasbourg made a living symbol of the fact that, 20 years after the fall of Berlin Wall (1989 - 2009) there is no more an Eastern or Western Europe, but only one Europe, as the head of the largest group of MEPs, ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Joseph Daul, stressed after the event.

    Speaking later to a group of Strasbourg's Journalists, including "EuroFora", the new EU Parliament's President clarified his stance on concrete topical issues, as f.ex. that of Turkey's controversial EU bid, which was one of the main issues of the June 2009 Electoral campain, clearly won by his party of ChristianDemocrats/EPP :  - "At present, Turkey does not fullfil none of EU conditions", he stressed, (See infra).

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    Buzek is well known in Strasbourg and to "EuroFora" as EU Rapporteur for the Framework Program of Scientific Research and Development of Technologies. A Natural Science Professor from the Historic and Religious landmark Polish City of Częstochowa, active in the famous Solidarnosk grass-roots social movement, he served 4 years as Prime Minister (1997-2001), before being elected as MEP in 2004 and 2009, after he brillantly won the latest EU Election at the head of his party (EPP) almost doubling the number of its MEPs from 15 to 28 !

    - "Innovation" and "Energy safety", as well as fight against the "Cimat change", but also "Eastern Partnership", the "Mediterranean", "Strategic partnerships" with Russia, the USA, etc, and the search for "solutions to the Economic Crisis" that EU Citizens "expect" from us, will be his "priorities", announced from the outset the new EU Parliament's President, reminding also that the quest for "Human and Civic Rights" played an important role in his experience with the Solidarnosc grass-roots social movement in Poland's History

    But, the most important of all, is the urgent need to overcome the "Crisis of Trust" between EU Institutions and the People he stressed : - EU "Citizens often don't understand us", denounced Buzek, launcing a call to "do anything for EU Citizens to understand our work" in EU Parliament : "We (MEPs) need to make EU Citizens involved" in "what we are doing every week, in Strasbourg and Brussels", he proposed. Pointing f.ex. to the hot "Debates" with "strong arguments" exchanged between MEPs during the preparation of their Legislative Decisions, in Committees, delivering often hard struggles between initially opposed points of view, long before forging a majority at the final vote, sometimes more than a year..

    Therefore, EU Parliament will be "open to your criticism, for discussion and exchange of views", he promissed to Journalists in Strasbourg.

    In this way, Buzek, in fact, highlighted "EuroFora"s main idea, that we strongly advocate since 1997-2007, to systematicaly and actively involve EU Citizens in public debates during the decision-making process of important EU measures, which affect their lives and the society in which they live, (and not only just a few weeks each 4 or 5 Years at the eve of EU Elections)...
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    This is related also to the symbolic gift that Buzek chose to give to the out-going former EU Parliament's President, Hans Gert Poettering, (2007-2009), his collegue in the ChristianDemocrats/EPP, who brillantly won 2009 EU Elections in Germany : A genuine statute of sainte Barbara crafted in Silesia's black Coal by Polish Miners : Those simple but strong people who fought for social change against some technocrats and bureaucrats disguissed into so-called "real-socialists" of old times. (PHOTO).

    It's enough to have seen a popular open air mass, at Warsaw's center, with many thousands of people, old and young, simple workers and intellectuals mixed together, with references to Poland's history and struggles for survival and liberty, through various ages, (as fex. that organized at the eve of CoE's 2005 panEuropean Heads of State and Government for the beatification of late Pope John-Paul II), in order to understand what such symbols mean..

buzek_press_a_400

    But, overcoming the "Crisis of Trust" with EU Citizens obviously implies also to rectify any errors done in the past, fex. on Turkey's controversial EU bid, with controversial decisions taken in 1999 and 2004 to give a "candidate" status and to start EU negotiations, provoking an unprecedented series of 3 "No" to EuroReferenda and 3 Majoriy Abstentions in EU Parliament Elections : 1999, 2005 and 2009, (even if the latest one succeeded to decelerate and almost stop the drop of participation rates, opening hopes for vote's revival after an electoral campaign clearly critical to Turkey's claims in several mainstream EU countries)
    
    Therefore, Buzek was faced with manifold critical Questions on EU Enlargement, most of them citting concrete examples of certain political problems  :  But his replies were almost always given as a matter of general principle :

    F.ex. Questioned on the suspension of EU - Croatia talks because of a Border conflict with EU Member Slovenia, Buzek prefered to speak about principles :

- "We know that during Enlargement, the process can be blocked by failure to resolve this kind of issues",  This concerns also other enlargments' cases", and "these rules are always in force" he warned.


But Buzek avoided to directly reply to a queston on "French and German EPP' calls to define the Borders of Europe", as a German journalist asked him by making a reference to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and German Chancellor Angie Merkel's, critical statements on Turkey at the June 2009 Electoral campain.    

- "Concerning Enlargement, there's always the same rules : There have to be Criteria, which have to be respected if a Country wants to join the EU", he started to simply reply.

- "For my country (Poland) it took us 15 Years to fullfil these Criteria", Buzek reminded, indicating, if proportions are kept, that Turkey, fex. would have to spend some 25 years before eventually joining the EU..

- "Countries wishing to join the EU need to Change their Systems", as we (Poland and other former Eastern European Countries) did, he stressed.

- "'For me, meeting the condition of Human Rights is one of the Key conditions for membership in the EU", preferring again to speak from the point of view of General Principles, on the occasion of an untimely question on Serbia (which is not even a candidate yet)...

- "Turkey" has, "first of all", to fullfil (EU) Copenhagen criteria". Bevause, currently, none of them is fullfiled by Turkey", New EU Parliament's President, denounced, speaking later to a group of Journalists, including "EuroFora".

buzek_close_a_400 

In particular, on Human Rights :  - "We (EU) can never forget Human Rights", because "this is at the very Foundations of the EU", Buzek added.

On the contrary, when he referred to EU Enlargment for the  "Western Balkans Countries ", Buzek appeared upbeat, finding "promising situations", despite "difficulties" in the Past, since "Countries are queuing to become EU members", and this "generated changes", as he said.

As for Russia, Buzek observed that it was a "very important" country, located "in the same Continent", Europe,  "close to our borders", and "we need eachother". "But Russia' has 'differend poblems : "They claim that their system is Democratic, but rules are differend", and we must be "aware of such differencies", fex. "on Human Rights", that we can't ignore, as he said;

Concerning China, where a journalist observed that the recipient of EU Parliament's latest "Sakharov prize" for freedom of thought is "still in prison", Buzek found that since the 1999 events in Tien Amin square, "we see differencies on Human Rights still today", and expressed his "support" for those who try to ameliorate the situation.

On the contrary, speaking recently to "EuroFora" he strongly supported the idea for an EU - Ukraine cooperation, fex. between Airbus and Antonov, in order to build a  less costly but more performant than the old and problematic A400M, new Military Transport Airplane : - "They (Ukranian Antonov Company) can certainly do it. I'm sure they can. It's a good Idea, and I'd be glad if it was done", he told us. (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/airbusantonov.html )


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