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A new programme outlines the State and EU financial investments in the cultural sector 2014-2020, one part dealing with cultural heritage and the other dealing with modernisation of the cultural infrastructure.

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Lithuania/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate  

4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities

Recent years have brought principal changes in Lithuania's state cultural policy. In June 2010, the Seimas passed the Resolution on the Guidelines for Alteration of the Lithuanian Cultural Policy. According to the document, the Culture Council of Lithuania was indicated as a prospective institution in cultural policy implementation processes.

The Guidelines and the Law on the Culture Council of Lithuania (2012) raised great debates among artists, representatives of art and culture institutions, the press and politicians. The role of the Ministry of Culture in the processes of formation and implementation of cultural policy, the "arm's length" principle in financing culture, and the advantages of the Culture Council as an "instrument" of culture policy were discussed and resulted in rather controversial opinions. Opponents of the Culture Council argued about the composition and election procedure of the Council, about the Ministry's distance from responsibility in the culture budget control and the great risk of losing culture administration levers.

According to the Law, the Culture Council functions as an "arm's length" body with its own administration. The model of this body was elaborated to take into account the Scandinavian Arts Council system. The Council is a budgetary institution, established with the view to reform country cultural governance and develop culture self-realisation. Its core mission is to implement the state culture policy in the governance areas assigned to the Minister of Culture. The Council administers the Culture Support Fund, which is resourced from state budget allocations mainly, as well as other funds, and which is dedicated to financing culture and arts projects, programmes and other measures.

In October 2011, the government passed the Resolution on the Inter-Institutional Action Plan for implementation of the Guidelines for Alteration of Lithuanian Cultural Policy for the year 2012-2014 (see more under chapter 2.3).

The government programme for the year 2012-2016 (adopted in 2012) included many cultural policy issues, which were underlined in the Guidelines, such as:

  • to implement the Guidelines for Alteration of Lithuanian Cultural Policy; to frame a long–term strategy for cultural development;
  • to protect cultural heritage, to protect authors and neighbouring rights; to establish a Culture Council of Lithuania;
  • to support art and artists, to strengthen regional cultural development;
  • to increase investment and financing in the cultural sector; and
  • to guarantee access to culture, etc.

The Ministry of Culture, considering the government's programme, set the following priorities in the Strategic plan of the Ministry for the year 2014, i.e.:

  • to develop and disseminate culture and art in Lithuania and abroad; to enhance copyright and cultural industries;
  • to preserve and popularise Lithuanian cultural heritage;
  • to promote information measures for society, to disseminate public information;
  • to improve access to culture and promote participation in cultural life;
  • to exercise Culture Support Fund functions; and
  • to expand the modernisation of the cultural infrastructure, to administer culture policy implementation processes.

By a Resolution of the Minister of Culture the "Programme of Relevancy of Cultural Objects for the year 2014-2020" was adopted. The document sets the guidelines for the state's and EU financial investments in the cultural sector, the criteria of selection of the projects with the aim to satisfy the cultural, social and economical needs of society, access and participation in culture. The Programme has two main guidelines: "the Means of Relevancy of Cultural Heritage" (300 million LTL) and "the Modernisation of Cultural Infrastructure" (352 million LTL).

Realising the Strategy "Lithuania 2030", in 2012 the government passed "The National Advance Programme" for the years 2014-2020. The Programme has a horizontal priority - "Culture", which covers cultural identity, creativity, and competitive cultural services for society.

Chapter published: 28-11-2014

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