The definition of a European identity has become a central issue for the European Union (Mayer and Palmowski 2004), particularly after the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 and the new Constitutional Text of 2004. The need to look for elements that are common to the different European countries and the talismanic (Collins 1994) statement of Jean Monnet - if I would start all over again, I would start with culture - have brought culture into the core of the European integration process. Because a cultural unity in Europe is not a given but an objective (Eleftheriotis 2001), the European Union has set into motion different cultural policies, which have now been running for two decades. This presentation argues that film plays an essential part in the formation of a European cultural identity, and will therefore focus on the audiovisual policies developed within the EU, particularly the MEDIA programme. Through the examination of a wide range of archive documents, it will demonstrate how the idea of Europe has been appropriated and shaped by such policies, critically assessing the current value of the central dichotomy unity in diversity .
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