3.4.3 European / international actors and programmes
Czechoslovakia was one of the foundation states of UNESCO and the Czech Republic (CR) has been a member since 1993. That same year it became a member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the Council of Europe. Since 1995, the CR has been a member of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and the Restoration of Cultural Property. It has been an EU member since 2004.
The EU programmes KULTURA / CULTURE and MEDIA have been adopted for 2007-2013 and they fall under the competence of the Ministry of Culture (MC). The MC also provides partial funding to projects that have been selected to participate in these programmes.
The EEA and Norway Grants have become an important source of funding. In October 2003 the Government of the Czech Republic signed the Agreement on the Participation of the Czech Republic in the European Economic Area (EEA). Under this agreement a new financing mechanism was introduced wherein the EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) in 2004-2009 contributed to countries just joining the EEA for projects in the expanded internal market. Norway also contributed through the bilateral "special Norwegian financing mechanism" (Norsk finansieringsordning). Through this financial mechanism, states of the EEA and Norway committed to contributing to the economically weaker states in the EEA in the form of grants for investment and development projects in priority areas – and one priority area is the protection and renewal of cultural heritage. During this period the Czech Republic was allocated a total sum of 110.91 million EUR (48.54 million of which as part of the Agreement on the Participation of the Czech Republic in the EEA and 62.37 million as part of the Agreement of Norwegian Financial Mechanism). Projects received co-financing of up to 15% of the requested sum. In total three calls for applications were issued and the Czech Republic submitted a total of 157 applications to the donors. As of 30 April 2009, the final date for the allocation of grants, 144 of these applications had been approved and they used 100% of the sum allocated to the CR. Cultural heritage was a priority area. In this area 58 projects were successful and received a total of 51% of the sum – 82 974 448 EUR.
In December 2009 the Czech Republic signed the Agreement on the Continuation of the EEA Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism for 2009–2014 (recognisable costs until April 2016). It sets the annual financial contribution at 357.7 million EUR, 97% of which will be provided by Norway. The total amount to be allocated is 1.789 billion EUR to cover every priority area. In the area of culture, a programme in the area of cultural heritage and the contemporary arts was adopted, specifically the Conservation and Revitalisation of Cultural and Natural Heritage programme area, and the Support for Cultural and Artistic Diversity in the Context of European Cultural Heritage. A first call for grant applications should be announced during 2013 (http://www.eeagrants.com).
The International Visegrad Fund was founded in 2000 by the governments of the Visegrad Four (see also chapter 3.4.1). The purpose of the fund is to support closer cooperation among participating countries using cultural, scientific and educational projects, exchange among young people, cross-border cooperation and the development of tourism. The fund also offers grant programmes and student and artistic residencies. The fund is frequently used in the CR.
The MC is charged with the ratification and implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The Convention was ratified in the CR in July 2010. The MC is currently working on its implementation.