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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.

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Commission Opinion [COM(1997) 2006 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(1998) 705 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(1999) 504 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2000) 704 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1747 - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1403 - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Monitoring Report [COM(2003) 675 - SEC (2003) 1201 - Not published in the Official Journal].

Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]


In its July 1997 opinion, the European Commission expressed the view that, provided the necessary legislative measures were pursued with sufficient urgency and were accompanied by the necessary structural adjustment of the industry, Estonia should be able to meet EU requirements in the medium term.

However, the November 1998 report noted that no progress had been made in this sector.

The October 1999 report indicated that, although certain measures had been adopted, Estonia's legislation was still not in line with the acquis in the audiovisual sector and that further efforts needed to be made in order to achieve full alignment.

The November 2000 report indicated that Estonia's legislation was largely in line with the acquis in the audiovisual sector. However, the administrative structures for applying these new provisions would need to be reinforced, particularly in terms of monitoring and sanctioning powers.

The November 2001 report indicated that no progress had been made in the cultural and audiovisual sectors.

The October 2002 report highlighted the fact that there had been no particular developments in the cultural and audiovisual sectors since the previous report. In these sectors, Estonia had largely completed the alignment of its legislation with the Community acquis.

The November 2003 report states once again that Estonia has fulfilled the commitments and obligations arising from the accession negotiations and will therefore be in a position to implement the acquis from the date of accession.

The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.


In the context of the internal market, the audiovisual acquis is intended to ensure the provision and free movement of audiovisual services within the EU as well as the promotion of the European programme industry. The acquis is contained in the " Television without frontiers " Directive, which is applicable to all broadcasters regardless of mode of transmission (terrestrial, satellite, cable) or whether private or public, and lays down basic rules concerning transfrontier broadcasting. The main points are:

  • to ensure the free movement of television broadcasts throughout Member States;
  • to promote the production and distribution of European audiovisual products (by laying down a minimum quota of broadcasting time for European products and those by independent producers);
  • to set basic standards for television advertising;
  • to provide for the protection of minors and to allow the right of reply.

The Europe Agreement provides for cooperation in the promotion and modernisation of the audiovisual industry, and the harmonisation of regulatory aspects of audiovisual policy.

The Television Without Frontiers Directive is one of the measures to be adopted by the CEECs under Stage I of the White Paper on the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the internal market of the Union (1995).


In June 1999 Estonia adopted a law amending the Broadcasting Act, bringing Estonian legislation closer to the EU's Television Without Frontiers Directive. However, major discrepancies remain concerning jurisdiction criteria and the promotion of European and independent works. Further work is needed concerning in particular public access to major events, advertising and teleshopping.

Amendments to the 1999 Broadcasting Act were adopted in May 2000 and have largely aligned Estonian legislation with the Community acquis in the audiovisual sector. Estonian broadcasters will have to comply with the requirements of the Directive by 2003. Provisions concerning the right of reply, the protection of minors, and requirements relating to advertising and teleshopping were also introduced.

In January 2000 Estonia ratified the European Convention on Transfrontier Television. Further progress is needed to strengthen administrative capacity, particularly in the media and copyright department. Coordination of the various structures responsible for applying and monitoring audiovisual legislation will have to be improved.

A Memorandum of Understanding providing for the participation of Estonia in the Community programmes MEDIA Plus (2001-2005) and MEDIA Training (2001-2005) was signed in July 2002, took effect in January 2003.

In the domain of Culture, Estonia has been taking part in the Culture 2000 programme since 2001.

In 2002, Estonia had fulfilled the remaining requirements necessary to align its legislation with the Community acquis in the audiovisual and cultural areas.

Last updated: 09.01.2004