COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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A new law allows each Township Council to represent its Castle with increased authority.

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San Marino/ 3. Competence, decision-making and administration  

3.2 Overall description of the system

Following the general elections on 11 November 2012, nine new Ministers were appointed, with a reorganisation of the Departments responsible to each Ministry and the consequent redistribution of tasks and responsibilities. The most evident changes, compared to the preceding legislatures, concern the responsibilities for peace, previously assigned to the Ministry of Justice, this responsibility has not been reconfirmed; for equal opportunities to the Ministry of Education and Culture and for youth policies to the Ministry of Tourism and Sport.

After the formation of the new government (in San Marino, the executive body is named "Congress of State", and is composed of a maximum of 10 Ministries, the so-called "Secretariats of State"), four Permanent Parliamentary Commissions were established, to which the various bills and issues are assigned according to their field of competence: Permanent Parliamentary Commission for Constitutional and Institutional Affairs, Public Administration, Internal Affairs, Civil Protection, Relations with Local Authorities, Justice, Education, Culture, Cultural Goods, University and Scientific Research; Permanent Parliamentary Commission for Hygiene, Health, National Insurance, Social Security, Social Policies, Sport, Territories, Environment and Agriculture; Permanent Parliamentary Commission for Finance, Budget, Planning, Handicraft, Industry, Commerce, Tourism, Services, Transport, Telecommunications, Labour and Cooperation; Permanent Parliamentary Commission for Foreign Affairs, Emigration and Immigration, Information, Security and Public Order.

Following a government crisis in July 2012, the XXVII legislature came to an end. General elections in November 2012 determined the new structure of the Ministries and their responsibilities. The Congress of State (the San Marino executive body) was appointed by the Great and General Council (Parliament) in its sitting of 5 December 2012, thus giving birth to the XXVIII San Marino legislature.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and University, Scientific Research, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities is the central governmental body responsible for promoting cultural policy. It is responsible for legislation and structural issues associated with the organisation of the cultural field.

The Ministry is responsible for coordinating all cultural institutes (museums, galleries, cinemas and theatres, libraries, the Music Institute and the University), as well as the social / cultural centres (Social Centres, Council of Cultural Associations and Cooperatives, Naturalist Centre). The Ministry is composed of the Minister, his Private Secretary, a Secretariat Official and the Director of the Department, all politically appointed. Under Law 5/1981 and subsequent amendments - regulating secondments and permits for political functions - the Minister can rely on a staff of officials and experts coming from other offices, who benefit from a temporary political secondment for the whole legislation. Periodically, the Director - who represents the link between the Executive power and the Public Administration - convenes the Department Council, an administrative meeting of all directors of the cultural sector, whose opinions are compulsory but not binding.

In San Marino, the legislative body is named the "Great and General Council" and is composed of 60 Parliamentarians, the so-called "Consiglieri"). The Parliament appoints the members of the following institutional bodies:

  • Permanent Parliamentary Commission for Constitutional and Institutional Affairs, Public Administration, Internal Affairs, Civil Protection, Relations with Local Authorities, Justice, Education, Culture, Cultural Goods, University and Scientific Research; Permanent Parliamentary Commission for Foreign Affairs, Emigration and Immigration, Information, Security and Public Order; Permanent Parliamentary Commission for Hygiene, Health, National Insurance, Social Security, Social Policies, Sport, Territory, Environment and Agriculture. They are responsible for examining, discussing and drafting all legal provisions to be approved by the Parliament. Under Law 42/1995 (amended by Law 2/2006, Article 2), the Permanent Parliamentary Commissions are composed of 15 Councillors, appointed proportionally among the Council Groups and the lists represented in the Council. The permanent Commissions, during their first sitting, elect their Presidents and Vice-Presidents;
  • the Commission for the Preservation of Monuments, Antiques and Art Works (CCM), composed of 7 commissioners (who are not Parliamentarians), in which also those responsible for the State Museum, Library and Archive and a representative of the Association of Engineers and Architects take part as advisors;
  • Commission for Equal Opportunities, composed of: 8 members ensuring the presence of the lists represented in the Council and reflecting the proportion of the Groups, a member designated by the Trade Unions and one by the Council of Cultural Associations, Centres and Cooperatives. The members cannot sit in the Great and General Council;
  • San Marino National Commission for UNESCO, headed by a President and a Secretary General, both appointed by the Council, the members of which are, however, designated by the Congress of State: representatives of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a member of the teaching staff of compulsory schools, a representative of the teaching staff of the high school, San Marino University, as well as personalities from the world of culture appointed by Their Excellencies the Captains Regent on designation of the National Commission; and
  • Supervising Commission, composed of 7 members appointed by the Great and General Council, in proportion of the Council representations, among the people who, however, do not sit in the Council. It appoints its own President.

The entry into force of Qualified Law no. 3 of 7 November 2011 - "Departments of the Public Administration" and of Law no. 188 of 5 December 2011 - "Reform of the structure and organisational model of the Public Administration" has introduced some important interventions of a structural nature and is aimed at reshaping offices and directorates. These interventions have laid the foundations for any future activities in terms of streamlining, as well as aimed at favouring users and managing resources. In particular, the Directorate of Cultural Affairs and Information, which was part of the Department of Foreign Affairs, has been eliminated. Its previous functions - organisation and management of international cultural initiatives, all activities concerning cultural relations and scientific cooperation at an international level and bilateral agreements - have been transferred to the Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs, previously called the Coordinator of the Department. Following the introduction of the new legislation, the Permanent Study Centre on Emigration and the Museum of the Emigrant - defined as the "Research Centre on Emigration" according to Law no. 188/2011 - is no longer dependant on the Department of Foreign Affairs, but it is established at the University of San Marino, within the Department of Historical Studies. In any case, the Directorate of Political and Diplomatic Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs is requested to collaborate with the University and with the other offices of the overall public sector with regard to in-depth studies and dissemination of information on migration phenomena involving the San Marino population Collaboration is also carried out by participating in collegial bodies established with the above aim and by promoting the involvement of the Consulta and San Marino Communities abroad. According to the law, this Directorate is also entrusted with the functions previously performed by the Office for Relations with San Marino Communities Abroad, that is to say the coordination of all activities protecting the interests of San Marino Communities abroad and of the Consulta of San Marino citizens abroad.

See also chapter 8.3.

The nine political / administrative municipalities of San Marino (called Castles), which are each presided over by a Mayor and a Council, are responsible to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Public Functions, Justice and Relations with Local Authorities. These local government bodies are key liaisons between citizens and the State. Among their functions are the circulation of information on decisions made by institutional bodies of interest for the Castle, the financing and coordination of cultural and social initiatives (in collaboration with other public and private bodies or institutes) and carrying out studies and research activities to increase the knowledge of the history, customs and traditions of the Castle. In agreement with the Commission for the Preservation of Monuments, Antiques and Art Works and with the competent offices, the Castles promote the restoration and preservation of artistic, architectural and archaeological works of the Castle itself.

In September 2013, the draft law on Township Councils (Law no. 127/2013) was approved. This Law, reforming the 1994 Law, has met most of the requests made over time by the decentralised government bodies. The much-awaited measure, which was welcomed by the Board of the Heads of the Township Councils, responds to the democratic purposes of these local government bodies, while strengthening their institutional, administrative and social role. It also promotes and encourages popular participation and civil responsibility. Major legislative amendments have introduced legal personality, which allows each Township Council to represent its Castle with increased authority. They have also established relations between the Township Councils and the Public Administration and between the Township Councils and the government through the organisation of six-monthly conferences and participation in budgetary policies. Moreover, such amendments have provided for compulsory opinions of the Township Councils relating to matters concerning the Castles and have introduced time-limits for the Public Administration to respond to the requests of the Township Councils. The Law makes also reference to the European Charter on Local Autonomy of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, an instrument of the Council of Europe supporting the role of decentralised government bodies in the setting up of a more democratic structure at a local level. The Charter was signed by San Marino in May 2013 (and ratified in October of the same year), as the last institutional step towards strengthening the role of the Castles.

In the meantime, the reform of the public administration (see Law n. 188/2011) has eliminated the Office responsible for Township Councils. This has entailed the suppression of an administrative structure performing the tasks of coordinating and verifying administrative burdens of the single Township Councils, as well as establishing a connection between them and the competent Ministry.

With a view to favouring a more active involvement of local bodies in central institutional activities and enhancing the projects of the single Castles, while further promoting direct participation also by citizens residing in these Castles, in 2010 the Captains Regent launched the initiative entitled "Castelli a Palazzo" (Castles at the Government Building). This initiative entails a series of meetings organised at the Government Building, seat of the San Marino Parliament and Government, among the Captains Regent, the Township Councils with their citizens, and the Minister of Relations with the Township Councils. During these meetings, aimed at strongly promoting national unity, the Township Council presents a project of interest to the relevant Castle in the cultural and / or social field. Citizens may express their ideas and opinions on this project in the presence of the Minister responsible for the relevant sector. In 2011, the Captains Regent arranged for visits by the Heads of State to the Township Councils with a view to meeting the public. Residents have been offered the possibility to submit formal requests concerning collective interests. The Captains Regent has addressed the selected requests (a maximum of 4 requests per Castle) during public audiences at the Government Building.

At present, the Republic of San Marino has no ethnic, linguistic or religious groups and / or minorities (see chapter 4.2.4).


Chapter published: 07-10-2015

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