By Martin Banks - 13th January 2011
It is outrageous
The EU has tripled its contributions to the Lyon-based Euronews channel in the last three years, it has emerged.
The news comes as it was revealed that the broadcaster, which is watched by an estimated 2.6m viewers per week, is to open 11 new offices across the world this year.
On Thursday, it was disclosed that the commission, said to be frustrated at what it sees as a dearth of news coverage on other outlets, has tripled its contributions over the last three years to €15m.
The multi-lingual news channel, which is dedicated to EU affairs, will open offices in places such as Kiev, the Ukrainian capital.
Philippe Cayla, CEO of Euronews, said, "We are moving east, we are moving west, we are moving everywhere."
The 24-hour news channel is owned by 21 European public broadcasters. It provides a single video feed while the audio narration is translated into 10 languages.
Cayla said it will undergo a revamp shortly with reporters appearing on screen for the first time.
He said the new offices are necessary because European public broadcasters, many facing cuts, are reducing their financial contributions to Euronews.
Advertising and other commercial sources of revenue account for about 60 per cent of the channel's €60m budget.
However, news that the EU has substantially increased its funding to the channel has been seized upon by eurosceptics.
UKIP member Paul Nuttall MEP said, "Everybody is making cuts, but here we have aspects of the EU's propaganda spend tripling. It is outrageous that they are opening 11 new journalistic bureaus across the world.
"Now more than ever we need a clearly independent media, however the behaviour of the EU in this way threatens that and the jobs of independent journalists".