PositionTwofour and Mostra win tenders but project still faces opposition

The European Parliament's web TV project is lagging behind. The prototype could be completed and presented internally during the first half of 2007, but there is still some opposition, particularly in Parliament itself.

The selection of the two companies in charge of developing the prototype and then the EP TV channel has brought the project three months behind schedule. Among the 65 firms expressing an interest in the call launched by the EP (one for the website architecture, the other for content), 13 submitted tenders and two were selected. The British firm Twofour was selected for the site architecture and the Belgian firm Mostra for content. The selection was no picnic, recognised Michael Shackleton, the European Parliament official in charge of the project. "This was our first call for tenders; it was not easy to identify precisely what we wanted to do."

The project originated in a Bureau decision taken in September 2005. In May 2006, the Conference of Group Presidents accepted the idea. The Budgets Committee gave the go-ahead shortly afterwards for the release of 1 million to fund the prototype, and the invitation to tender was then launched. The project consists of setting up an online European Parliament TV channel in all the Community languages. Viewers will be able to choose what they want to see out of a palette of programmes, from broadcasts of committee meetings to plenary sessions, programmes on the history of the institution, MEPs' profiles and so on. Broadcasting would amount to some 300 hours a year at a cost of 9 million.

While the idea has backing outside the institution's walls (university professors, lobbyists, students), the reluctance in Parliament itself has delayed the process. The sceptics' put forth arguments that have to be parried by the project leader.


The first such argument is cost. For Michael Shackleton, that is a "false argument," because 9 million a year out of a total EU budget of 115 billion "is not really very much". Another objection raised is the impossibility of respecting multilingualism. Indeed, while the...

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