2.1 Main features of the current cultural policy model
See also chapter 3.2 for a description of the cultural policy system, including Cultural Councils and chapter 4.1 for the list of cultural policy priorities.
The general objectives of the cultural policy so far have included the pursuance of values such as: cultural pluralism (aesthetic and multiethnic), creative autonomy, the increase and diversification of sources for financing culture, polycentric cultural development, encouraging cultural participation and co-operation between the public and the private sector to increase efficiency, quality, employment and innovation. The most ambitious goal is bringing culture into the focus of interest of all inhabitants of the country. The "Strategy of Cultural Development – Croatia in the 21st Century", drawn up in co-operation between the Ministry of Culture and a team of independent experts and accepted in the Croatian Parliament in early 2002, gives a detailed presentation of these goals and the necessary instruments to achieve them. One of the key goals of the Cultural Development Strategy has been the democratisation of culture, intended to increase active participation in culture and to popularise art and culture in schools and through the media. However, no action plans were made in order to implement the adopted strategy.
During the former government, the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Culture (2011-2013) has been adopted, and some strategic programmes have been elaborated (e.g. Strategy of Protection, Conservation and Sustainable Economic Utilisation of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Croatia (2011-2015) that was adopted in July 2011. (For more information see chapter 4.2.2). With the current government in power since 2011, the revised Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Culture for the period of 2012-2014 was adopted in 2012 with some new goals elaborated (For more information see chapter 4.1).
Decentralisation is still an important subject of debate in Croatian cultural policy and practice, and is also highlighted in the Programme of the new government. Experts in the Ministry of Culture and the Croatian Law Centre (NGO) have drafted a model of cultural decentralisation covering financing, infrastructure, decision-making and planning based on polycentric development corresponding with Croatian cultural and historical regions. However, primarily due to lack of funds on the local level, the process slowed down considerably. There has been a continuous pressure on the central government to enable fiscal decentralisation, which is a necessary precondition for any other efforts in this direction (decentralisation of education, health, etc.). The model of cultural decentralisation still awaits public debate, revision, and an eventual possibility to be gradually implemented. Cultural strategies on the local level are scarcely adopted; the only exception is the "Istrian Cultural Strategy" of the Istra County that was adopted in Poreč in 2009. Amendments to the Law on Cultural Councils in 2013 opened up the possibility of cities (or other municipalities) with more than 20 000 inhabitants to establish cultural councils. Further discussion on decentralisation and new territorial organisation of the Republic of Croatia will be very much influenced by the regional development strategies driven by the EU standards and priorities including NUTS regions.
The process of decentralisation is also supported through the provisions in the Law on the Protection and Preservation of Cultural Assets (NN 69/99, NN 151/03; NN 157/03, Amend., NN 87/09, NN 88/10, NN 61/11, NN 25/12, NN 136/12)which regulates the distribution of funds collected through the "monument annuity" fund and establishes the Registry of Cultural Assets. This Law ensures that 60% of the funds collected are used by the local governments in their respective city / municipality for the protection of cultural heritage. With the financial crisis and the changes in the legislation defining revenues from the monument annuity, the amount of funds collected through this scheme is decreasing, which is limiting the ability of local communities to invest in cultural heritage restoration.