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

4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities

The main priorities of Romanian cultural public policies in the cultural field have changed in recent years. From 2010, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage priorities are supporting the national heritage and contemporary creation, aspects that are integrated into the Strategic Plan developed for 2009-2013. Some of the medium-term priorities included in this strategic plan are: to protect and promote national heritage, to support cultural and creative industries and the independent cultural sector, to improve infrastructure,  management of cultural institutions,  cultural facilities, the potential of culture and  cultural heritage and the decentralisation of decision-making and administration.

The Strategic Plan 2009-2010 included public policy on changing the organisation and functioning of legal institutions and entertainment companies, as well as exhibition of artistic activity; public policy on digitisation of cultural resources by creating a Digital Library for Romania; public policy on improving the quality of life in urban and small urban areas in terms of cultural services; a national cultural heritage strategy; and the strategy of decentralisation in the field of culture. The decentralisation process targets museums and performing arts institutions which are still subordinated to central authority.

The public policy planning documents include a public policy proposal for supporting creativity in culture, a strategy for supporting SMEs and stimulation of the cultural and creative industries and a strategy for enhancing access to European funds for culture (the information presented was obtained from the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage for the years 2009-2013).

As a consequence of these changes, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage has started to modify its role from a cultural agent to an advertising, consulting and mediating factor.

In the development of the policy priorities, the main challenges that Romanian policy-makers are facing are:

  • obsolete infrastructure;
  • obsolete and insufficient equipment;
  • weak managerial knowledge;
  • reduction in budgetary allocations;
  • the process of decentralisation was made in the past without the actual transfer of responsibility at local level;
  • the law does not allow enough flexibility for local authorities to take responsibility and to sustain financially the cultural institutions that respond to local consumer needs;
  • the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage should create a cultural market and public private partnerships between companies and cultural institutions;
  • the public grants for culture should be transparent: state priorities and application procedures should be clear. The allocation of funds remains obscure and does not stimulate competition for priority projects;
  • low levels of remuneration - no incentives for young people;
  • steady decrease in employment level in the cultural field; and
  • harmonisation with EU trends and developments.

Public debates about some of the issues described above include:

  • a debate initiated by the Civil Society Gala and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in order to promote non-profit organisations and cultural institutions (the programme sent to civil society);
  • the decentralisation process in the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, culture and local development: the role of culture in regional development;
  • the management of cultural public institutions; and
  • National Cultural Fund Administration's legislative procedures regarding financial sustainment of cultural projects.

Chapter published: 21-08-2012

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