E-002747-17
In its reply to Written Question P-001066-17, the Commission states that a performance audit of Euronews was carried out in 2016. It further states that the Commission was informed by Euronews on the projected agreement with the news channel NBC Universal. It has assessed the potential effects of the agreement over the framework Partnership Agreement and has requested a number of reassurances in terms of independence, multilingual regime, staff protection and EU perspective before renewing the bilateral relations.

In this regard,

– On what basis is the agreement with Euronews a “partnerhsip” when the Commission, despite the funneling of around EUR 26 million in annual EU funding, has no say in the management of the newschannel?

– What guarantees, in real terms, does the Commission have that stakeholders such as Egyptian billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris and American commercial broadcast network NBC will favour a European identity for Euronews instead of exploiting this asset, which is being heavily subsidized by the European taxpayer, to boost their own profits?

– How can the Commission independently prove that EU funding is being entirely spent on the European mission of Euronews, and will the Commission publish these assessments given its pledges on transparency?     

Answer given by Vice-President Ansip on behalf of the Commission
The relations between the European Commission and Euronews are governed by a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) on the basis of Euronews’ recognised mission of European general interest.

This FPA is the instrument enabling the Commission to fund a number of actions within Euronews, such as the production of EU programmes and linguistic versions. The current FPA was signed in February 2017 with the duration of 4 years. It includes a charter that ensures Euronews has editorial independence.

Euronews is a private company and the Commission has no say in its internal management. Still, under the FPA, Euronews must retain a European perspective and produce independent, unbiased and pluralistic content. These elements are controlled through internal assessments, external audits and evaluations, and an independent monitoring carried out by the Osservatorio di Pavia organisation.

Apart from two evaluations carried out in 2010 and 2014, a performance audit carried out in 2016 concluded that Euronews has been broadly successful in pursuing the general Union interest, covering European and EU topics.

It also recommended that the channel be closely monitored. Disclosure of this audit report is governed by the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to documents.

Maltese Version

Suġġett: Segwitu għall-Mistoqsija P-001066/17 dwar id-dover ta’ rendikont tal-fondi tal-UE lil Euronews

Fit-tweġiba tagħha għall-Mistoqsija P-001066‐17, il-Kummissjoni ddikkjarat li fl-2016 twettaq awditu tal-prestazzjoni ta’ Euronews. Din tiddikjara wkoll li l-Kummissjoni ġiet infurmata minn Euronews dwar il-ftehim proġettat mal-istazzjon tal-aħbarijiet NBC Universal. Il-Kummissjoni vvalutat l-effetti potenzjali tal-ftehim fuq il-qafas tal-Ftehim ta’ Sħubija u talbet numru ta’ riassigurazzjonijiet f’termini ta’ indipendenza, reġim multilingwu, protezzjoni tal-persunal u l-perspettiva tal-UE qabel it-tiġdid tar-relazzjonijiet bilaterali.

F’dan ir-rigward:

Fuq liema bażi l-ftehim ma’ Euronews hu “sħubija” meta l-Kummissjoni, minkejja li tgħaddi madwar EUR 26 miljun bħala fondi annwali tal-UE, m’għandha l-ebda influwenza fuq il-ġestjoni tal-istazzjon tal-aħbarijiet?

X’garanziji, f’termini reali, għandha l-Kummissjoni li l-partijiet interessati, bħall-biljunarju Eġizzjan Naguib Sawiris u n-netwerk tax-xandir kummerċjali NBC, se jiffavorixxu identità Ewropea, minflok ma jisfruttaw dawn l-assi, li huma ssussidjati sew mill-kontribwenti Ewropej, biex iżidu l-profitti tagħhom stess?

Kif tista’ l-Kummissjoni tikseb prova indipendenti li l-fondi tal-UE qed jintefqu fl-intier tagħhom fuq il-missjoni Ewropea ta’ Euronews, u l-Kummissjoni se tippubblika dawn il-valutazzjonijiet fid-dawl tal-wegħdi tagħha ta’ trasparenza?

Tweġiba mogħtija mill-Viċi President Ansip f’isem il-Kummissjoni
Ir-relazzjonijiet bejn il-Kummissjoni Ewropea u l-Euronews huma regolati minn Ftehim Qafas ta’ Sħubija (FPA) abbażi tal-missjoni rikonoxxuta tal-Euronews ta’ interess ġenerali Ewropew. Dan l-FPA huwa l-istrument li jippermetti lill-Kummissjoni tiffinanzja numru ta’ azzjonijiet fil-Euronews, bħall-produzzjoni ta’ programmi tal-UE u l-verżjonijiet lingwistiċi. L-FPA attwali ġie ffirmat fi Frar 2017 għal tul ta’ 4 snin. Dan jinkludi karta li tiżgura li l-Euronews ikollu l-indipendenza editorjali.

L-Euronews hija kumpanija privata u l-Kummissjoni ma għandha l-ebda influwenza fil-ġestjoni interna tiegħu. Madankollu, skont l-FPA, Euronews għandu jżomm perspettiva Ewropea u għandu jipproduċi kontenut indipendenti, imparzjali u pluralista. Dawn l-elementi huma kkontrollati permezz ta’ valutazzjonijiet interni, verifiki u evalwazzjonijiet esterni, u monitoraġġ indipendenti mwettqa mill-organizzazzjoni l-Osservatorio di Pavia.

Minbarra ż-żewġ evalwazzjonijiet imwettqa fl-2010 u l-2014, l-awditjar tal-prestazzjoni mwettaq fl-2016 ikkonkluda li l-Euronews kellu suċċess wiesa’ fil-kisba tal-interess ġenerali tal-Unjoni, li jkopri temi Ewropej u tal-UE. Barra minn hekk, kien irrakkomanda li l-istazzjon jiġi mmonitorjati mill-qrib. L-iżvelar ta’ dan ir-rapport ta’ awditjar huwa regolat mid-dispożizzjonijiet tar-Regolament (KE) Nru 1049/2001 dwar l-aċċess pubbliku għal dokumenti.