Summary: Meeting in Milan on December 11 and 12, a chorus of managers sang out for music to receive proper recognition at EU level, like the film industry enjoys, and for the Community to recognise the importance of the alternative end of the industry. Those attending the conference, organised by the Independent Managers Forum (IMF), agreed on an umbrella grouping to orchestrate their efforts, called the Alliance for Music in Europe. AME is to lobby for music to have its own legal basis which draws from both culture and industry policy areas, on the grounds that it plays an important role in cementing cultural solidarity across Europe, and in terms of both turnover and number of people involved, it is a significant sector.

The EU's new Culture 2000 programme, with a proposed (and currently contested) budget of ECU 167 million over five years starting January 1, 2000, would replace all existing cultural programmes. It does not, however, distinguish between different art forms, but favours multinational cultural cooperation agreements, large-scale European projects and innovation. Most music activity occurs outside these categories. The programme has not yet been adopted into legislation as the UK, the Netherlands and Germany oppose the programme's proposed budget, with some officials mooting a figure of ECU 90 million as an appropriate sum. The European Parliament suggested ECU 250 million. The independent European film industry would not rely on the Culture 2000 programme as it has its own budget lines. Following hard lobbying, the audiovisual sector was awarded in 1991 its own legal basis in EU legislation. The move, which the then Culture Commissioner Carlo Ripa di Meana endorsed, is credited with throwing a lifeline to a industry which was then threatened with extinction. It has since made a spectacular recovery - now the production...

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