Considering the recent proposed budgetary amendments the government of the Republic of Slovenia has confirmed for 2022 and 2023 and put to the vote of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, Kooperativa – Regional Platform for Culture has sent its letter of support for the civil sector in the field of arts and culture in Slovenia to the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Vasko Simoniti, deputies of the National Assembly and the Government of the Republic of Slovenia
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia
Mr. Vasko Simoniti, Minister
National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia
The Government of the Republic of Slovenia
Zagreb, November 11th 2021
Dear Mr. Simoniti, Minister, deputies of the National Assembly and the Government of the Republic of Slovenia,
We are gravely concerned about the proposed budgetary amendments the government of the Republic of Slovenia has confirmed for 2022 and 2023 and put to the vote of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia. The proposed amendments indicate a severe destabilization of the civil sector in the field of arts and culture in Slovenia with significant implications for the whole region of South-East Europe. As a regional network of non-governmental organizations working in the field of independent culture and contemporary art in South-East Europe (with members from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia) we are writing to strongly urge you to raise proposed budgetary funds for programs and projects of Slovenian cultural civil organizations in the fields of performing, visual, music, new-media arts, as well as amateur cultural arts and publishing to the primarily planned and validated budgetary amounts for the aforementioned years. These have promised to firmly establish Slovenia as a regional leader in the field of culture and to highlight Slovenian decision-makers’ commendable understanding of the importance and role, as well as the needs of the civic sector in arts and culture.
As the Slovenian Ministry of Culture has regularly shown to be acutely aware, the cultural civic sector plays a fundamental role in the development of societies and cultural ecosystems. It is vital for the continued protection of a country’s cultural heritage and its global cultural and artistic relevance, identity-building, processes of democratization, as well as social and regional cohesion and collaboration processes. The sector is an expression of civic needs, plays a crucial role in audience development and is an important generator of artworks. It is also a protector of traditional forms of arts and culture, as well as an all-round multiplier of artistic endeavor. A state with its public cultural institutions highly depends on the productions of artworks and other cultural products by the civic sector and the audiences they develop. Its’ citizens highly depend on the cultural productions of the civic sector that can quickly respond to their needs. It is not only at the core of economic growth in the field of culture, but is also responsible for creating jobs and work opportunities for a significant number of artists and cultural professionals. The civil organizations in the arts and culture sector are an important driver of European and international funding in Slovenia and their capacity to continue and expand the incoming funds is directly dependent on the ability to have matching support in Slovenia.
In light of all this, it is hard to understand the reasons behind the decision that, while the Republic of Slovenia is putting forward unprecedented amounts of funds towards the development of the cultural sector in general, it is also pulling the rug under the feet of independent culture by significantly reducing support for public programs of the civic sector. This decision is strongly contributing to the already precarious work conditions of artists and cultural workers, putting many at risk of unemployment and pushing them out of the region or out of the fields of arts and culture altogether.
Finally, we wish to underscore the impact the decision to reduce funding for the civic sector will have on the cohesion of cultural and artistic processes and collaboration in South-East Europe. Slovenian cultural organizations have for some time now played a leading role in cultural and artistic collaboration, exchange, and capacity building programs. With their excellent track-record and expertise in acquiring international funds and significant international recognition and standing, they have considerably helped the development of cultural sectors in other states of SEE and have always shown to be a much needed and stable partner.
The already on-going as well as future common regional cultural endeavors are now at risk, which threatens to set back the cohesion and developmental cultural processes of the region for decades.
We strongly urge you to consider Slovenia’s role and responsibilities as a leader in the region and ensure every effort is made to secure the funds for the continued development of the civil sector in arts and culture in Slovenia and through their continued work within the whole region.
Kooperativa – Regional Platform for Culture