3.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy
See also chapter 3.4.1.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, international cooperation is becoming stronger and more diverse and very fruitful contacts have been established with the Baltic and Nordic countries, as well as with several cultural representations of foreign countries (the British Council, the Danish Culture Institute, the Cultural Centre of France, the Goethe Institute, The Nordic Council of Ministers' Office, etc.). There are 35 embassies and several foreign cultural centres situated in Riga that are significantly enriching the cultural life of the country.
Special attention is given in public policy to cooperation in the Baltic region. The co-operation of the Baltic States constitutes the following institutional frameworks – the Baltic Assembly, the Baltic Council of Ministers and the Council of the Baltic Sea States. The parliamentary co-operation takes place within the Baltic Assembly, but all matters related to practical co-operation are being dealt within the format of the Baltic Council of Ministers. Some cultural initiatives take place within this official cooperation format (e.g. annual prize of the Baltic Assembly http://www.baltasam.org/).
The Council of the Baltic Sea States is an overall political forum for regional inter-governmental cooperation. It includes an initiative in the cultural field – Ars Baltica that is an international cultural network (established in 1991).
The programme of cultural cooperation for the period 2012-2014 between the Culture Ministries of the three Baltic countries (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) was signed to improve cooperation at regional level.
The Cultural Committee of the Baltic States has initiated several projects that are successful e.g. chamber orchestra Kremerata Baltica, Baltic Film and Media School, Baltic Museology School (see chapter 3.4.4).
Since 2009, the Baltic States are contributing partners to a Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture, with a budget of around 1.6 million EUR for the year 2012. The Baltic States co-finance the programme according to their GDP per capita. In 2012, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic in Latvia contributed LVL 23 230 (EUR 33 186). Latvian cultural operators were active in applying to the programme and in 2012 Latvian applicants received support in the amount of EUR 189 480.
The Ministry of Culture has signed intergovernmental and inter-ministerial agreements and programmes with approximately 30 countries to encourage cultural exchange and co-operation between professionals working in the field of culture.
Municipalities have their own international culture cooperation activities mainly as part of cooperation agreements with partner cities or towns. International festivals play an increasing role in internationalisation of cultural life in cities.
Public financial support for international cooperation is available from the Ministry of Culture and the State Culture Capital Foundation. The Ministry of Culture finances some international cultural projects and supports the participation of Latvian cultural institutions and professionals in international organisations and programmes. Apart from these activities, the Ministry of Culture also secures co-financing for the projects supported by EU programmes, thus supporting implementation of large projects in digitalisation of cultural resources, improvement of the cultural infrastructure, education, creative industries and cultural co-operation projects submitted by Latvian cultural operators to the programme "Culture 2007-2013" etc.
Since 2003, the Ministry of Culture announces competitions and co-finances those cultural organisations which have received funding from the EU programme "Culture 2007-2013" or "Europe for Citizens Programme". Since 2010, the co-funding programme is reduced to LVL 60 665 (EUR 86 664) due to the economic crisis (in 2008, the budget for this programme was LVL 100 000 or EUR 142 857), while the number of applicants has tripled (in 2008 - 6 projects, in 2012 - 21 projects).
Other international cooperation projects are covered by different support schemes from the State Culture Capital Foundation on a competition basis. The Foundation supports the organisation of international projects as well as running the Travel Grant Support Programme that enables individuals and groups to participate in short-term scientific, creative and study programmes abroad.
Chapter published: 08-10-2014