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Lithuania/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.1 Main features of the current cultural policy model

Lithuania's government programme of 1994 was the first legal document which underlined  the task to"complete the model of Lithuanian cultural policy". In practice the "model" was understood at the time as a document, where cultural policy objectives, guidelines and tasks for particular cultural sectors and cultural development should be indicated. A longer-term objective was to decentralise art and cultural institutions under the jurisdiction and financial control of the state and municipalities.From a legal point of view, decentralisation has been facilitated by the passing of the Law on Local Self-Government, which grants local self-governments the legal and administrative capacities to shape and implement cultural policy in line with their communities' needs.

During the last years, Lithuania's culture policy principles were based on "preserving" culture against the negative impact of the financial crisis from 2008-2010. The maintenance of cultural institutions and state support to development of the cultural sector still remains the main purpose of the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry is the main institution formulating and co-ordinating state cultural policy.

In 2012, a significant step towards an "arm's-length" culture policy model was made by passing the Law on the Culture Council of Lithuania, by which the new administrative and decision making body the Culture Council of Lithuania was founded (see more in chapter 4.1 and chapter 5.1.4). The Law became an instrument to separate the role of the Ministry of Culture as a cultural policy forming institution from the cultural policy implementation functions, which fall under the Culture Council. The Culture Council was established with the view to reform cultural governance and develop cultural self - realisation.

The Council has the following key functions: providing co-financing to culture and arts projects, programmes and other measures on the grounds of competitive selection of projects, based on the cultural experts' recommendations; administering the Culture Support Fund; awarding grants, providing scholarships and other financial support to culture and arts creators; organising culture and arts research; monitoring and analysing culture and arts projects; participating in and implementing EU and other countries' financial support programmes and administering the financial support funds providing for the culture sector; cooperating with state and municipal agencies and institutions; performing other functions specified by legal acts, etc. The decisions are taken by a collegial management body - the Meeting of the Council Members, chaired by the Chairperson and executed by the Council's Administration. The Council comprises ten members elected for a four year period by the principle of diversity in terms of areas of culture and arts and territorial representation.

These processes of establishing a new form of culture administration and decision-making system has shaped the main implementation instruments for the state's cultural policy, i.e.:

  • financing of cultural and art institutions by the central government and the municipalities; direct and indirect financial support for the arts, artists and artistic creativity;
  • legal background for culture, heritage, creative industries and copyright;
  • cultural infrastructure scheme covering national, state, municipal, NGO's, private institutions;
  • basis of cultural information, including press, radio, TV, new technologies (digitisation), cultural statistics, surveys, etc; and
  • network of international cultural co-operation, using state foreign policy priorities and cultural diplomacy.

New cultural development obstacles were defined in the culture policy document, the Guidelines for Alteration of Lithuanian Cultural Policy (June, 2010; see chapter 2.3 and chapter 4.1). The 16th Government Programme (December, 2012) underlined the task "to elaborate a culture policy model", taking into account Lithuania's membership of the EU and processes of globalisation (see:

In general, the state still plays a dominant and decisive role in most issues of culture administration, financing and legal sectors. The main state cultural institutions fall under the Ministry of Culture and their culture programmes are financed via the Ministry's budget. Up to the end of 2012, the Culture Support Fund was administered and financed as one of the programmes of the Ministry. On the other hand, during the last decades the cultural policy model assumed the features of a more flexible decision-making mechanism. The system of cultural administration was created along the principles of decentralisation and upon models for co-operation between different administrative levels.

Chapter published: 28-11-2014

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