The European Union have announced plans to force streaming giants, such as Netflix and Amazon Video, to have at least 20% of their content originate in Europe. This quota is to cover both television and films and is intended to ensure that young people will have access to European content and culture.

Many people have raised their concerns with this move. Some have called it protectionist, which seems rather obvious since that is the whole purpose of the EU anyway. Others think providers will just skirt around the issue, such as by providing older, cheaper films in order to meet the quota. European Commission member Gunther Oettinger attempted to allay this last fear by stating that if the providers “buy stuff that isn’t good, viewers will not watch them anymore. We trust the providers to fill them with sensible stuff, otherwise, the viewers will not view,” clearly, he has never looked through Amazon Prime’s back catalog.

My concern is that what the companies provide will not represent native European culture to many across the continent. After all, Europe is one of the most culturally diverse places on Earth, and there are enormous differences between French culture and Slovakian culture, for example. Setting out to provide 20% generic brand European programming to the continent seems doomed to fail from the start, and it would seem better to make individual quotas for each member state if you have to make quotas at all.

Netflix is already reported to hold over 21% European programming as part of its service, and Apple iTunes is also said to meet the requirements.

Currently, this new quota is still in the planning stage, so we will have to see whether or not it survives the other twenty thousand committees of the EU. Even if the plans are not put into place, it shows the EU’s increasing concern with European culture and programming.

So, is it a pointless endeavor to try to provide European content across the EU? Or is any attempt to help European culture thrive in an increasingly American world a good move? Discuss in the comments below?

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