"Protecting intellectual and artistic property against piracy" is a top priority of new French culture minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres.

PARIS--"Protecting intellectual and artistic property against piracy" is a top priority of new French culture minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres.

Donnedieu de Vabres replaces Jean-Jacques Aillagon following the reshuffling of the French government three weeks ago.

Donnedieu de Vabres made this plea in a "French memorandum for European cultural cooperation," an initiative which aims to put culture at the forefront of the expanded Europe. Ten new member states join the EU on May 1.

Donnedieu de Vabres also underscored the importance of lowering Valued-Added Taxes on music and "protecting intellectual and artistic property against piracy." Both measures, he says, are meant to "encouraging cultural industries' development."

Several of the memorandum's priorities stand out for the local and European music business. First, the notion of "cultural diversity" should be promoted "not only in Europe, but throughout the world," says the minister, for example by "preventing the liberalisation of (state-run) audiovisual services."

The memorandum proposes to guarantee certain levels of European and local state aid to cultural projects.

"Financially speaking," says Donnedieu de Vabres, "culture is the EU's poor cousin, with just euros 120 million ($143.7 million), or 0.1% of the community's budget."