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Liechtenstein/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.8 Social cohesion and cultural policies

For decades now, Liechtenstein has been proud of the harmonious relationship between its social partners. The reliable cooperation between employers and employees is one of the most important prerequisites for social harmony. The state finances half of all social partnership activities for the country and for the general public. Since May 2007, a new Law has been in force guaranteeing all employees occupied in the same industry the right to equal terms and conditions.

Extreme poverty is not really an issue in Liechtenstein, even though there are financially disadvantaged individuals supported by the state. A study on poverty (1997) does not address the issue of foreigners. However, data on state support indicates that foreign-language residents are economically less affluent than the average. Liechtenstein's social state generously assists in cases of financial distress. But private engagement in this small country is also remarkable, whether it is on behalf of families, the elderly, children or disabled people, regardless of their origin. In addition to Caritas and Family Benefits, and the Office of Social Affairs, the Liachtbleck Foundation has been active thanks to private initiative since 2005. Its aim is to non-bureaucratically assist individuals experiencing financial shortfalls consequently living at a disadvantage in affluent Liechtenstein.

Volunteer work is a major pillar that the state could not do without. This applies to the social area as well as to unsalaried cultural efforts. This tendency is reinforced by the long tradition of a historically influenced part-time volunteer system. In a small state, people generally agree on the high value of unsalaried and volunteer efforts. Consequently, a lively, multi-faceted and well-conceived cultural landscape has developed. There are no special social programmes for artists in Liechtenstein. The eleven municipalities are responsible for the support of their own cultural societies. Up to the close of 2007, the Cultural Advisory Council was concerned with the promotion of individuals, projects and organisations, and since 2008 the job has been assigned to the Liechtenstein Cultural Foundation (see chapter 3.2).

Various projects deal with the topic of immigration, for instance in 2003, when the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein exhibited works from the 1960s, dedicated to issues of cultural identity, country of origin and exile, migration and existence as an outsider. The topic of migration was for once not treated excessively realistically, an approach that typically causes the viewer to effectively feel on the verge of drowning within the mass of displayed works. Instead, the theme was geared to a slower pace, affording the opportunity for contemplation. The exhibition revealed that migration characterises the history of mankind, both in political and economic configurations as well as in terms of shaping interpersonal relations and individual lifestyles.

Chapter published: 12-11-2014

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