Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Alfred Sant (S&D)
P-001066-17

Subject: Accountibility of EU funding to Euronews

Since 2011, Euronews has received between EUR 26 and 29.5 million of EU funding annually. Nevertheless, it is stated that the broadcaster remains a private company with the Commission having no legal say in the organisation or in the strategy of Euronews. It is understood that the relations with the news channel are established on the basis of a Framework Partnership Agreement.

In this regard,

– Has the Commission ever asked for a full and comprehensive audit of Euronews, independent of the figures supplied by the channel’s management?
– Followed by the entry of other controversial shareholders, has the Commission discussed and agreed upon the recent news of US media giant NBC acquiring between 15 – 30% of the share of Euronews, a move which is seriously hindering the European public mission of Euronews?
– Has the Commission discussed and agreed upon the company’s economic arguments for the expected job cuts, given that the management has just splashed out millions on its sumptuous new Lyon headquarters?     

Answer given by Vice-President Ansip on behalf of the Commission
The Commission has evaluated the impact of its actions within Euronews by using both internal assessments and external audits and evaluations. Two different evaluations carried out by external contractors in 2010 and 2014 offered reassurances in terms of the added-value and the efficiency of the actions.
A performance audit has been carried out in 2016, offering further insights on the company’s strategies and their effects on the actions. The costs of the different actions are established every two years by external audits.
The Commission was informed by Euronews on the projected agreement with the news channel NBC Universal, by which the latter is becoming a shareholder of Euronews. The Commission has assessed the potential effects of the agreement over the framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) and has requested a number of reassurances in terms of independence, multilingual regime, staff protection and EU perspective before renewing the bilateral relations.
Euronews is a private company and it is not up to the Commission to comment on internal management issues. Euronews has guaranteed that the agreement with NBC Universal will not have negative, direct consequences on staff levels

Maltese Version – Ir-responsabbiltà fil-finanzjament mogħti mill-UE lil Euronews

Mill-2011 sal-lum, Euronews ingħata bejn EUR 26 u 29.5 miljun f’finanzjament mill-UE kull sena. Madankollu, dan ix-xandar jibqa’ dejjem kumpanija privata u l-Kummissjoni m’għandha l-ebda influwenza ġuridika fuq l-organizzazzjoni jew l-istrateġija tal-istazzjon. Huwa mifhum li r-relazzjonijiet ma’ dan l-istazzjon tal-aħbarijiet huma stabbiliti abbażi ta’ Ftehim Qafas ta’ Sħubija.

F’dan il-kuntest:
— Qatt il-Kummissjoni talbet awditu sħiħ u dettaljat ta’ Euronews, indipendentement miċ-ċifri mogħtija mill-maniġment tal-istazzjon?
— Wara d-dħul ta’ ċerti azzjonisti kontroversjali, saru diskussjonijiet fil-Kummissjoni dwar l-aħbar reċenti li l-ġgant medjatiku tal-Istati Uniti NBC mistenni jakkwista sehem ta’ 15-30 % f’Euronews, mossa li tista’ tostakola serjament il-missjoni ta’ xandir pubbliku Ewropew tal-istazzjon? Il-Kummissjoni qablet ma’ dan?
— Meta l-maniġment għadu kif nefaq il-miljuni fuq kwartieri ġenerali ġodda u lussużi f’Lyon, il-Kummissjoni ddiskutiet — u taċċetta — l-argumenti ekonomiċi tal-kumpanija favur it-tnaqqis li mistennija tagħmel fl-impjiegi?

Tweġiba mogħtija mill-Viċi President Ansip f’isem il-Kummissjoni
Il-Kummissjoni evalwat l-impatt tal-azzjonijiet tagħha fi ħdan il-Euronews billi użat kemm valutazzjonijiet interni kif ukoll awditi u evalwazzjonijiet esterni. Żewġ evalwazzjonijiet differenti, imwettqa minn kuntratturi esterni fl-2010 u l-2014 offerew livell ta’ rassigurazzjoni f’termini tal-valur miżjud u l-effiċjenza tal-azzjonijiet. Fl-2016 sar awditu tal-prestazzjoni u dan offra perspettivi ulterjuri rigward l-istrateġiji tal-kumpanija u l-effetti tagħhom fuq l-azzjonijiet. Il-kostijiet tal-azzjonijiet differenti huma stabbiliti kull sentejn permezz ta’ awditi esterni.
Il-Kummissjoni ġiet infurmata mill-Euronews dwar il-ftehim previst mal-istazzjon tal-aħbarijiet NBC Universal, li permezz tiegħu, dan tal-aħħar se jsir azzjonista tal-Euronews. Il-Kummissjoni vvalutat l-effetti potenzjali tal-ftehim fuq il-Ftehim Qafas ta’ Sħubija (FPA) u talbet għadd ta’ garanziji f’termini ta’ indipendenza, reġim multilingwi, protezzjoni tal-persunal u l-perspettiva tal-UE qabel ma jiġġeddu r-relazzjonijiet bilaterali.
Il-Euronews hija kumpanija privata u mhuwiex f’idejn il-Kummissjoni li tikkumenta dwar kwistjonijiet ta’ amministrazzjoni interna. Il-Euronews iggarantiet li l-ftehim mal-NBC Universal mhux se jkollu konsegwenzi negattivi diretti fuq il-livelli tal-persunal.