The European Union has announced proposals that will force video-on-demand providers like Netflix, Amazon, and Apple iTunes to meet quotas for European movies and TV shows. Under the proposals, streaming services and traditional broadcasters will have to show at least 20% European content. Speaking in Brussels, Günther Oettinger, member of the European Commission in charge of digital economy and society, said: “We want new service providers to meet these rules so for young people there is some European culture on offer for them.
“It’s a way of promoting the film industry but also promoting European identity….”
“For young people”.
Of course it is.
This, by the way, is the same Oettinger (an unelected bureaucrat, I should say, but you knew that already), who I have blogged about in the past. I noted here that he was part of the EU’s ‘get Google’ gang and he pops up in another post here, suggesting that consumers should not be allowed to switch ISPs too often, as it discouraged investment in networks.
Oettinger, a member of Angela Merkel’s CDU, is, like Merkel, no friend of free markets. As such, he fits in very well with the dominant culture in Brussels, a culture very friendly to soft authoritarianism of the type that the plans for this new quota reflects. Just think for a moment about the Big Brothering implications of the idea that a private company should be forced to offer content.
Think too, about what it says that the Brussels elite appear to believe that ‘European identity’ (a bogus idea that De Gaulle reduced to ruin in the enjoyable press conference that you can see here) is so feeble that it needs protecting.
Protect from whom?
I think we all know.
And yet Obama, and much of the US foreign policy establishment, persists in claiming that the EU is America’s friend. It never has been. And, as Oettinger’s plans remind us yet again, it never will be.