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Parliamentary questions
9 August 2006
Answer given by Mrs Reding on behalf of the Commission

At European level, Article 3a of the 1997 ‘Television without Frontiers’ Directive(1) (TVwF) provides for the possibility for the Member States to list events regarded as being of major importance to society (including sport events, and in particular the World Cup matches mentioned specifically in Recital 18 of the directive), so that a significant part of the public is not deprived of the possibility of seeing such events on free television, even if, for example, exclusive rights have been bought by pay-television channels.

The national lists, once notified to the Commission, examined for their compatibility with EU law and published in the Official Journal in accordance with Article 3a(2) of the directive, must be respected by broadcasters under jurisdiction of other EU Member States (benefiting thus from mutual recognition at the EU level). However, according to the directive, there is no obligation on the Member States to introduce a list of events of major importance, which reflects the subsidiarity principle in the EU legal order. Accordingly, there is no harmonised EU regulation obliging Member States to ensure that their entire population has access by means of free-to-air-television to important sport events such as the football World Cup. Malta has not introduced a list according to Article 3a of the TVwF Directive.

(1)Directive 97/36/EC of Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 1997 amending Council Directive 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities, OJ L 202, 30.7.1997.

OJ C 328, 30/12/2006
Last updated: 22 September 2006Legal notice