In 2012 and 2013, 12 cities in Serbia along the Danube will collaborate with international partners on specific cultural issues.
3.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends
One of the most important tasks identified by the government, from 2001 – 2003, was to re-establish the broken links with all international institutions and organisations. Specific cultural priorities had not been defined, but European integration is considered as an ultimate government task. The principal document relevant for this issue is the National Strategy of the Republic of Serbia SCG`s Accession. Serbia joined the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe on the 1 March 2009.
The Ministry for Culture in Serbia considers that cities and municipalities, as well as public cultural institutions, are very active internationally: working with the majority of relevant cultural institutions and individuals in formal and informal co-operation, linked with projects and initiatives of the international community from the private (NGO) and public sectors, including inter-governmental bodies such as the Council of Europe and UNESCO. However, the analysis of the scope of cooperation is not satisfactory, as it does not have a policy and priorities, and mostly is re-active to foreign demands.
In 2009 the Ministry of Culture launched the pilot project "Cultural route – Fortresses on the Danube", dedicated to the improvement of the capacities of the local communities in Serbia. The project encompassed seven cities and the most visible result was an exhibition which was promoted by the Ministry in many foreign countries and cities along the Danube (Germany - Ulm, Ingolstadt; Romania – Turnu Severin, France – Unesco, Paris; Belgium – EC, Brussels, and there are some more plans).
Nowadays, the project is enlarged and in 2012 and 2013 will include 12 cities in Serbia along the Danube that will collaborate with international partners on specific issues.
The local teams from 12 cities on the Danube in Serbia will be from Apatin, Bac, Novi Sad, Pancevo, Beograd, Pozarevac, Smederevo, Veliko Gradiste, Golubac, Kladovo, Negotin, Zajecar.The Project (2012-2013) includes cities with cultural resources that need to be creatively used in order to recover the local spirit and tourism.
Training, education and transfer of good practice will help in researching processes in order to define the mutual cooperation and the most symbolic items connected to the Danube River that will be followed by the creation of a local collection of the most significant artefacts on the Danube (in situ). The same idea is transferred to all countries along the Danube. Thus, the initial idea is strongly connecting to the re-use of the traditional sites / heritage and archaeological sites which can be differently assumed, positioned, restored, rehabilitated and used for different artistic and cultural purposes, where foreign partners will give a significant contribution.
From 2002 – 2005, eight bilateral cooperation agreements were concluded (Croatia, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Turkey, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Egypt, Bulgaria and Algeria). A specific co-operation agreement has been concluded with Hungary regarding the protection of national minorities (Hungarians in Serbia, and Serbs in Hungary). After 2005, new bilateral cooperation agreements had been concluded with Ukraine, Macedonia, China, India and Israel. Most recently, agreements have been signed with Bosnia and Romania, so the only neighbouring country that no agreement has been signed with so far is Montenegro. The last signed documents are the long term programme cooperation agreements including Poland, Egypt, Armenia and Azerbaijan (2011).
In July 2009, the 1st Protocol between the Republic of Serbia and the German region of Baden-Wuertemberg was signed. The 2nd one was signed in October 2011. Both encompass a range of activities including culture. A specific Protocol in the field of research, preservation and conservation was also signed in August 2010 between the Ministry of Culture and the European Danube Academy in Ulm.
A similar Joint Commission which encompasses the field of culture and arts exists also with the German lander Bavaria. The last session of the Commission was on October 2010, in Munich, celebrating 40 years of cooperation between Serbia and Bavaria.
A regional cooperation council was created in 2008 as a follow up to the Stability Pact for the SEE. The work of the Council covers five domains but culture is only a part of one domain: capacity building. A working group for Culture and Society was created in 2011 to foster the Ljubljana Process II – Rehabilitating our Common Heritage which will last from 2011 to 2013, and which will also focus on capacity building mostly in the field of heritage.
This process is supported by the European Commission and the Council of Europe. Serbia has developed a Heritage Assessment Report. The Reports provides a precise picture of the heritage policy in the country. As part of the Ljubljana Process II – Rehabilitating our Common Heritage Serbia is developing "Flagship Projects" of the most advanced projects that will be a priority until 2014:
One of the priorities of the Serbian Ministry of Culture is regional cooperation. It participates actively in the Council of Ministers of South East Europe, and supports the inclusion of culture in the Central European Initiative. In this respect, the Ministry of Culture is working with other relevant ministries from the region to establish a Regional Fund for Cinematography.
In 2011, the BELGRADE DECLARATION, the seventh joint declaration of the Ministers of Culture of South-Eastern Europe on the promotion of cultural heritage for dialogue, was signed, focusing on contemporary art production – as a heritage for the future. Two paragraphs are specifically important, as underlining future priorities of regional cooperation:
"We underline the need to strengthen, through joint resources and fund mobilisation, the role of the Regional Centres of excellence and expertise established with the support of UNESCO as platforms for capacity building, education and policy advice in the field of cultural heritage, as well as for the dissemination of good practice and know-how;
We support the development, in particular, of actions aiming to rehabilitate and promote cultural heritage sites in post conflicts areas, as a means to raise the awareness on the cultural diversity of the region, build confidence in reconciliation processes and support the development of local education, knowledge and skills;"
In October 2011, in Belgrade, an Experts meeting on "Intercultural Dialogue and Film" involved film professionals from CEI country members. The conclusion of the two-day meeting was the proposal to establish a common web portal where it would be possible to download 3-5 per year of the translated most representative film productions per country.
The Regional Programme for Cultural and Natural Heritage of South East Europe, carried out by a joint effort of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, particularly through the so called Ljubljana Process, has provided positive impacts and has contributed to sustainable development of the region. The Ministry of Culture actively works on preparing documentation and promotion of the projects in Serbia.
The first regional project for heritage protection had been launched within UNESCO relates to the listing of "Stećci" on the UNESCO heritage list.
The most important event in the domain of European integration was the signing of the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the Commission of the European Communities and the Ministry of Culture of Serbia (6 February 2008 in Brussels). In October 2007, the Cultural Contact Point for Serbia was officially created outside of the Ministry, as a result of the process to support European partnerships. But, there is no special mobility fund or funding available to pay network fees or to make financial contributions as partners in international projects. However, organisations that succeed in applying to the Programme Culture 2007-2013 were assured that they will receive the adequate financial contribution from the Ministry. The official inclusion in the Programme Culture 2007-2013 for Serbia is an extremely important moment and it opens many possibilities for cultural development. In 2009, there were 9 international projects in which organisations from Serbia were partners and received a grant from the European Commission), but it was difficult to secure their financial contribution to projects, in spite of funds agreed.
Still, one of the major actions in this domain concerns a program: Serbia in the world, which is organised through Weeks of Serbian culture abroad (France, Egypt, etc.)
In the year of Books and Literature (March 2010-March 2011), the programme The Ambassador's Choice was established to promote Serbian writers in different countries through the embassies and professional partner organisations abroad, as well as Slavic chairs (Humbolt, Sorbonne, etc.) The Serbian Edition house "Geopoetica" was supported to publish the chosen ten Serbian contemporary authors in English.
In March 2011, Serbia was a Country in Focus at Leipzig Book Fair, which presented around 50 contemporary authors.
From 9 October 2011 until 9 October 2012,the Ministry of Culture, Information and Information Society, in collaboration with Belgrade City Museum and Memorial Museum of I. Andric, as well as with Serbian MFA, are celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1961) of the Serbian author Ivo Andrić (1892-1975), one of the most eminent writers of the Balkan region. There is a following documentary exhibition "Writer and / or Diplomat, Ivo Andrić" that will visit European cities – Leipzig (Book Fair), Berlin, Stuttgart, Rome, Geneva, Brussels, Paris, Marseilles, Strasbourg, Madrid, Bucharest, Stockholm and other cities – mostly the places were the author spent time as a writer and /or diplomat.
Although June 2010 was proclaimed the anniversary of 100 years of Serbian film, there were not so many activities dedicated to this event. There were some plans on the international level to promote Serbian film in 2012 – in Germany, France and Belgium, but Ministry gave up idea of the Year of a Film.