Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-----------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-----------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Wednesday, 15 March, 2000, 22:30 GMT
Compromise on EU art levy
auction
Britain feared the levy would hit London's art market
Britain has brokered a 15-year delay on a controversial EU art levy which it feared would harm London's art market and cost thousands of jobs.

The European Union scheme would have ensured that artists received a royalty of up to 4% every time one of their works was sold anywhere in the EU.

But at a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday officials voted to adopt a watered down version of the original plans agreed by the EU states - and delay its implementation for up to 15 years.

The UK Government said royalty payouts and lost trade would reduce the value of the UK's art market from 3.2bn to 2.5bn-a-year.

It said the levy would cost up to 8,500 art industry jobs, with trade being diverted to the US and Switzerland to avoid the levy.

But the European Commission is unhappy at the extent of the compromise worked out by the European partners.

'Unacceptable' precedent

The original proposals would have meant that any work of art worth more than about 600, would have attracted the additional levy to be passed to the artist, or to their estate if they had died within the last 70 years.

Under the compromise deal the threshold for payments is raised from 1,000 to 4,000 Euros, and there is a five-year delay before the rules have to be implemented

An upper limit for a payment on any one work of art is set at 12,500 Euros.

But most controversially, special permission has been granted for those countries like Britain that do not have any kind of levy at the moment, to wait a further 10 years before adopting the measures.

Britain regards this deal, which was arranged by officials on Wednesday and has to be rubber stamped by ministers as a reasonable compromise.

The commissioner for the internal market Frits Bolkestein, however, is said to regard the 15-year delay as unacceptable.

He believes it sets a bad precedent for other nations' attempts to avoid implementing internal market rules they do not like.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Europe Contents

Country profiles
See also:

07 Dec 99 | Europe
EU art levy blocked
07 Dec 99 | Business
Grim picture for arts market
13 May 99 | The Economy
Artful EU decisions
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories