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Lithuania/ 3. Competence, decision-making and administration  

3.2 Overall description of the system

Lithuanian cultural policy is shaped and influenced by the central government (the state) and local / municipal authorities. The central government (Ministry of Culture) plays the most important role in forming general culture policy guidelines, while local authorities are responsible for culture development in municipalities. Up to July 2010, administrative units of county (apskritys) functioned at regional level.

The Seimas (Parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania plays the main role in framing the legal basis for culture. The Committee of Education, Science, and Culture of the Seimasdeals with various cultural development issues, discusses questions of current interest and adopts decisions, it also analyses culture-related legislation. The main cultural bodies accountable to the Seimas are: the State Commission for Protection of Cultural Heritage established in 1995 (12 members); the Council for Protection of Ethnic Culture established in 2000 (21 members), and the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language established in 1993 (17 members). The State Commission for Protection of Cultural Heritage plays the role of expert and adviser to the Seimas, the President and the Government of Lithuania, and is responsible for shaping the state cultural heritage protection policy and strategy, for monitoring and control of its implementation. The Council for Protection of Ethnic Culture is a state advisory and expert institution on issues dealing with ethnic culture. The State Commission of the Lithuanian Language is an adviser to the Seimas, the President and the government on the state's language policy and provides proposals on implementation of the Law on the State Language (1995).

According to the Principles for Lithuanian Cultural Policy (2001),every year during the Seimas plenary session, the Minister of Culture must deliver an annual report on the state of Lithuania's culture. However, this tradition discontinued in the mid 2000s.

Each Government of the Republic of Lithuania draws up an activity programme outlining its main goals and tasks in the fields of culture, arts, and cultural heritage. A framework for the implementation of measures is laid down in a specific Action plan. In December 2012, the 16th Government's Programme was approved by the Seimas.

The Ministry of Culture is the centre for cultural policy formation, planning, co-ordination, monitoring, financing and legal issues. The Ministry is a founder of 13 theatres (3 national, 10 state), 17 museums (4 national, 13 state), 7 concert institutions (1 national), 7 libraries (1 national), 2 directorates of cultural reserves, Trakai Historical National Park, the State's Language Inspectorate, the Department of Cultural Heritage, and the Secretariat of the UNESCO national commission, 4 centres (data, 25 June 2014; see: There are 9 national cultural institutions, which function under the statutes, adopted by the Minister of Culture: Lithuanian National Philharmonic, National Drama Theatre, National Kaunas Drama Theatre, Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, Lithuanian Art Museum, National M.K.Čiurlionis Art Museum, Lithuanian National Museum, National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, and M.Mažvydas National Library. National cultural institutions have a separate budget line in the state budget. In 2012, the Lithuanian Film Centre was established as the governmental institution at the Ministry of Culture with the aim to form and implement state film policy.

The Ministry of Culture prepares the budget and drafts new legislation, monitors the financing and management of state cultural and art institutions, makes decisions on discretionary financing of arts and culture institutions, national minorities' cultural programmes, projects and scholarships to artists, annual national culture and art awards and it collects and disseminates information on artistic and cultural life and the effects of cultural policy measures. In addition, it bears responsibility for professional art and creative industries, copyright, heritage, ethnic and amateur culture and monitoring the functioning of the national cultural institutions. As of 1991, there are numerous expert commissions and cultural bodies at the Ministry, providing advice to the Minister or ministerial departments and divisions (see organigram). The Ministry of Culture is responsible for the implementation of the provisions of EU documents in the field of culture, and the organisation and coordination of Lithuania's membership in the European Union cultural programmes. The Ministry allocate EU and EEA financial support for culture.

In 1991 the Lithuanian Culture and Arts Council was established at the Ministry. It was the first advisory institution at the Ministry with the right to provide proposals on cultural policy measures, recommendations to the Minister on various issues of culture life, legislation, allocate state scholarships for artists, etc. The functions of the Council also are to analyse the processes of cultural development. The Council comprises 15 members, elected for three years. However, the Council doesn't have influence over financing of culture and its role remains more consultative.

In September 2012 the Seimas passed the Law on the Culture Council of Lithuania, according to which implementation of culture policy is delegated to a separate budget institution at the Ministry of Culture, the Culture Council, established by the Government's Resolution in November 2012 (see: The main objective of the Council is to evaluate and provide financing for culture and arts projects, and to monitor and control their implementation. The supreme governance body of the Council is the Meeting of Council's members (11), appointed by the government.

The Collegium of Cultural Self-Government, established in 1993 and functioning under the Ministry of Culture, provides advice and recommendations to the Minister on cultural policy issues with regard to municipalities and regions, legislation, financial support to cultural activities in regions and municipalities. Its members (13) are administrators and managers responsible for cultural affairs in municipalities and regions and are elected every year at an annual meeting of the Collegium.

There are 60 local governments (municipalities) in Lithuania. The local authorities have the right of self-governance granted to them under the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (1992) and the Law on Local Self-Government (1994; amended 2012). They have a right to establish committees (boards) to deal with cultural policy issues. Each municipality has units or special staff responsible for culture management. However, in practice many of these units, along with culture, are responsible for management of tourism, young people's affairs, and community leisure policy. Local authorities are responsible for the financing and maintenance of local cultural institutions and for cultural heritage. Local authorities are elected every four years (the last election was in 2011). In 1995, the Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania (ALAL) was established and is a non-profit non-governmental organisation, having the rights of a legal person, representing the common interests of its members - local authorities.

Since 1994, higher administrative units (10), i.e. counties (apskritys), functioned in Lithuania. Due to administrative reform these units were liquidated in July 2010.

In 2002, the Lithuanian currency Litas (LTL) was related to the Euro at a rate of 1 EUR = LTL 3.45. Lithuania's entry date to the Euro zone is January 2015, having already joined the EU in May 2004.

Chapter published: 28-11-2014

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