8.1.4 Support to professional artists associations or unions
The fact that professional artists' associations are legally treated similarly to all other associations (i.e. of art amateurs) has created a lot of tension between public authorities and those associations. They have lost all the privileges they once had during socialist times and have, upon occasion, even been expelled from their premises (because they happened to be located in buildings which were legally owned by some other organisation or private person, a fact not challenged before).
A new and completely different legislative logic is needed to differentiate between professional associations (which act more as trade unions for freelance artists), groups of amateurs and NGOs working on policy issues. In this context, a new Association Law has been put on the Parliament's agenda. It is expected to give artists' associations the possibility to earn money through their activities and to invest in projects of NGOs. The general assumption is that this new law will facilitate artistic workshops, educational activities, and will contribute towards job creation.
Generally, in Serbia, the transformation, of a state association of artists, to an association as a non-governmental organisation, provoked a lot of controversies and negative reactions among the artistic community, which felt rejected by the state. The Ministry of Culture covers the running costs of 13 artists' associations with a total amount of 270 000 EUR. 31 associations and unions are recognised as being representative, after the open call of the Ministry of Culture in 2011.