HOLLYWOOD, June 16 (UPI) -- European Union trade ministers said film and other forms of culture would not be included in a huge trade agreement between the United States and the EU.
The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is seen as the cornerstone of job creation and economic growth, but some European directors, like Jean Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Ken Loach, and Pablo Almodovar, wanted their movies exempted.
"Culture is not merchandise," said French film star Berenice Bejo, reading a letter addressed to European Parliament members last week by German director Wim Winders. "You can't put it in the same category as cars, lamps, or screws or bolts."
EU trade ministers agreed to take culture off the negotiating table for the pact, The Hollywood Reporter said Saturday.
"A wonderful victory for European culture," wrote the Dardenne brothers in response.
The EU Trade Council on Friday gave EU negotiators permission to proceed with TTIP talks.
"The European Parliament clearly welcomes the launch of trade negotiations with the U.S. and will monitor closely the entire process, which should be as transparent as possible", said the European Parliament's International Trade Committee chair Vital Moreira. "Parliament will only give its final consent to the deal if it is in the best interest of our businesses, workers and consumers."