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Greece/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.3 Cultural policy objectives

Cultural policy objectives are constrained by the statutory obligation for the protection of cultural heritage, a field that maintains absolute priority in state funding, organisational support and effort. In the broader field of culture and the arts, stated policy priorities are to build closer ties between culture and society (including cultural participation), to support creativity, especially young artists and culture professionals, and to promote internationalisation of Greek cultural production.

The principle of equal access and participation in cultural life is asserted in the Greek constitution, and manifested in the investments previously made in infrastructure for the arts, both in the regions and metropolitan centres. Educational programmes in schools, and free access to museums and archaeological sites, are meant to develop a positive attitude among young people towards culture and the arts. Extensive works in archaeological sites, museums and cultural venues have been undertaken to make them accessible to people with physical handicaps.

The principle of promoting identity is predominant in Greek cultural policy, as shown by the emphasis on the diachronic unity of Greek cultural heritage and on the prevalent views expressed both in policy documents and in public debate about the uniqueness and distinctiveness of Greek culture. This is reflected also in the policy actions concerning Greeks abroad (Greek diaspora) and in the teaching of the Modern Greek language, both at the national level, as well as through the language teaching activities abroad of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture.

The principles of promoting diversity and respect of cultural rights is expressed in the constitutional right of freedom of artistic and literary expression, as well as in sporadic positive discrimination programmes encouraging the cultural expression and participation in cultural life of groups such as the Roma people and the Muslim minority of Thrace. While Greek society is predominantly homogeneous as regards popular traditions, in line with other fully urbanised societies, folk cultures representing small ethnic groups are well represented in folk art museums, traditional music and dance groups. In the past, the Ministry of Culture monument restoration programme has involved several mosques and synagogues; a decision to build a mosque in the Athens area was reversed by the coalition government formed in late 2011.

The principle of support for creativity is expressed in the Greek constitution. Within the limited overall budgets available for culture, the Greek state does provide support for creators through public commissions and purchasing of works, support for artist mobility (mainly in the performing arts), funding for translation of literary works, subsidies for theatre, dance and film productions, literary and other prizes, and social benefits such as honorary pensions for renowned artists. In addition, both the creation of infrastructure for the arts and cultural programming is largely supported by public funds and administered by the central -and to some extent also regional and local- government.

Chapter published: 14-08-2015

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