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Estonia/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends

There are two main aims of international cultural co-operation: to bring international cultural life to Estonia and to introduce Estonian culture abroad. Estonia's cultural co-operation with the EU started well before the country's membership in May 2004. Since the accession, new dimensions, and instruments have been added. Estonia is a member and an active participant in the main international organisations responsible for the field of culture, such as UNESCO, the Council of Europe, WIPO, ICOM, and Eurimages and has joined several international networks. In December 2010, Estonia became a member of the OECD.

One of the main instruments of international cultural co-operation is bi- and multilateral agreements and cultural co-operation programmes. The implementation of these agreements should, in principle, be financed from the state budget. As of 2013, Estonia had more than 40 agreements on cultural co-operation with foreign countries. In addition to these agreements, the Ministry has concluded more detailed protocols, or initiated co-operation programmes, with some of the countries.

While projects listed in international agreements are to gain priority in decisions on financing, it can happen that agreements on cultural co-operation are sometimes signed without prior calculations of their financial costs. This puts great strain on the cultural budget and may render their implementation more difficult. Obviously, long-term planning is needed in order to make ends meet.

Chapter published: 13-10-2014

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