“Speak out against racism”: European week
Confronting racism in Europe: this is the objective of “United for Intercultural Action”, Europe’s largest network against nationalism, racism, xenophobia, and in support of migrants and refugees, with the cooperation of 560 organizations from 46 European countries. Also this year the week of March 17-25 is devoted to “fighting racist injustice and violence”. “All across Europe political groups and subcultures that feed off racist ideologies are on the move. Their aim is to attack minorities” explain the promoters, backed by the EU. “But the tendency to divide and categorise minorities into over-generalised groups is deeply embedded at various levels in our societies, that makes it hard to advocate equality and solidarity”. Why this week? “The reason lies in a date: March 21st. It is the International Day for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1966 following the brutal murder of 69 protestors in the South African township of Sharpeville in 1960. The massacre occurred during a protest against the apartheid laws of the South African government, a regime systematically enforcing racial inequality and segregation”. Every year around 21 March, the UNITED network coordinates the European-wide Action Week Against Racism and calls upon the international community “to bring an end” to racism, whose impact makes “social cohesion impossible and paves the way for conflict”. The purpose of the week is to speak, inform, debate. “We have to stop turning a blind eye to the various forms of racism characterising our societies”, the organizers say. Hence the motto of this year’s campaign: “Open Your Mind - Speak out Against Racism”.
EU Budget, priority to youth employment and SMEs
On March 14 the European Parliament approved the guidelines for the 2013 Budget. The blueprint highlights budgetary priorities and calls upon Member States to ensure appropriate funding in support of EU policies. There is a shortage of resources also in 2012 and lower budgets for reasons linked to the crisis risk thwarting EU activity. Thus MEPs want next year’s EU budget “to focus on youth employment and small and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs)”, namely, “on growth”, as decided by the European Council of the end of January and beginning of March. “Promoting growth and job creation requires specific actions and enhanced budgetary efforts to nurture competitiveness and innovation and offer support to SMEs”, MEPs said. The EU Commission is preparing the draft budget, due to be presented in mid April. Once the Commission’s draft budget plan is released, budgetary procedures will be launched, involving Parliament and Council (the EU’s budgetary authorities) until its approval at the end of the year.
Media Mundus supports cinema and culture
“Everyone loves to see good films in the cinema and on TV. MEDIA Mundus – the global version of the successful MEDIA programme – encourages international co-productions, boosts worldwide distribution and makes the audiovisual industry more competitive”. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth explained the purpose of the €5 million MEDIA Mundus programme funding for some 35 film-related projects, that is, to “strengthen the distribution of European films in non-European markets and vice-versa”. Vassiliou pointed out: “The idea is to give audiences more choice and the chance to see films made all over the world”. The projects selected for 2012 include: “Ipeda Mundus”, that facilitates the release of European films on prominent internet video platforms in the US and Canada; “Eye on Films”, a global network of distributors and festivals which distribute debut feature films in more than 20 countries; “Docstories”, a training workshop which aims to develop creative documentary projects and innovative non-fiction programmes in the Black Sea region (Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Belarus, Azerbaigian, Georgia, Moldova and Armenia). The Commissioner explained: “The film landscape has changed significantly over the past two decades, due to the impact of technological developments such as multi-channel digital television, digital cinema and video-on-demand”. Media Mundus has a budget of €15 million over 3 years (2011-13) and funds projects “encouraging mobility and exchanges between European film-makers and their counterparts around the world”.