EU plans to widen scope of EU film subsidies

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's state aid chief says he wants to expand the scope of EU film subsidies to cover all stages of a production from story idea to cinema projector.

EU Commisioner Joaquin Almunia also said Thursday production powerhouses like France and Italy will have more say in defining what will be covered by the movie subsidies which are exempt from normal economic rules because they are considered cultural products intrinsically linked to the identities of the 28 member states.

The United States has frequently criticized the European movie industry because of lavish state subsidies of about 3 billion euros ($4 billion) a year.

The EU is insistent that the movie industry stay out of the current trans-Atlantic trade negotiations with the United States, despite Washington's objections.

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