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Slovakia/ 3. Competence, decision-making and administration  

3.2 Overall description of the system

The government of the Slovak Republic defines the principles for the implementation of state policy in cultural matters and coordinates the activities of central state administrative authorities. State administration is carried out though the preparation of legislation and standards, the issuing of general regulations and internal regulations. National cultural monuments are declared by government regulation. The government of the Slovak Republic approves documents on strategies and concepts for cultural policies (see also chapter 2.1 and chapter 4.1).

The central state administrative authority for the cultural sector in Slovakia is the Ministry of Culture. The powers and responsibilities of the ministry have developed and gradually changed since it was established. In the course of its development, its responsibilities have included not only cultural and public education activities, the arts and cultural heritage monuments, but also nature conservation, the publication of non-periodical publications, the enforcement of copyright and production and sales in the field of culture.

The current responsibilities of the Ministry of Culture are defined in Section 18 of Act 575/2001 on the organisation of the government of the Slovak Republic and the organisation of the central state administration of the Slovak Republic. Under this Act, the Ministry of Culture is the central state administrative authority in the Slovak Republic for the following areas of culture:

  • the state language;
  • protection of monuments;
  • cultural heritage and libraries;
  • art;
  • copyright and related rights;
  • public education and folk arts and crafts;
  • support for the culture of national minorities;
  • the presentation of Slovak culture abroad;
  • relations with churches and religious societies; and
  • media and audiovisual arts.

The Ministry of Culture defines the methodology of the activity of Slovak institutes abroad with regard to their cultural responsibilities and activities.

At a parliamentary level (National Council of the Slovak Republic), in the current electoral period, culture is overseen by the Committee on Culture and Media, which was established on 4 July 2006. 11 members of the Slovak parliament sit on this committee (out of a total of 150). The responsibilities of the committee include:

  • monitoring of the implementation of the government manifesto as related to culture and media;
  • discussing, adopting an opinion and making recommendations on government and parliamentary draft acts, international treaties, conventions and other documents;
  • cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, high level state authorities and public institutions falling under the supervision of the committee (Slovak Television (Slovenská televízia), Slovak Radio (Slovenský rozhlas), the Press Agency of the Slovak Republic (Tlačová agentúra Slovenskej republiky - Slovakia); the board of Slovak Television, the radio board, and the Council for Broadcasting and Re-transmission);
  • cooperation with experts, particularly making use of its proposals and requests; and
  • convening out-of-Parliament sessions and Members' reviews.

The powers of the National Council of the Slovak Republic relating to culture include the election of members of the management and supervisory bodies of the public media. Parliament elects the members of the Board of Slovak Television, the Board of Slovak Radio, one member each of the Supervisory Commission of Slovak Television and the Supervisory Commission of Slovak Radio and members of the regulatory body for television and radio broadcasting (the Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission).

The main roles of the Ministry of Culture are to prepare and submit legislation relating to culture, issuing related regulations (decrees and regulations), carrying out state administration in the area of culture and cultural heritage, ensuring the preservation of monuments and carrying out inspection of monuments, conceptual activities in relation to culture and media, collection of statistical data and information on individual areas of culture, carrying out tasks related to international cooperation and the membership of international organisations for culture and media. An important function of the ministry is the management of public finances designated for culture in the Slovak budget. The ministry also operates grant programmes (schemes) for individual areas of culture and cultural heritage.

To provide for the technical and conceptual aspects of its main activities, the ministry establishes specialised advisory bodies, including:

  • the Council of the Minister of Culture for Mass Media;
  • the Council of the Minister of Culture for applying Information Technology in Culture;
  • the Commission for the Preservation of Moveable Items of Cultural Heritage;
  • the Central Language Council;
  • the Central Library Council;
  • the Council for the Preservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage;
  • the Monument Council;
  • the Archaeological Council;
  • the Commission for the Verification of Special Professional Qualifications for Carrying Out Research on Monuments and Historic Sites;
  • the Commission for the Preservation of Elements of Cultural Heritage; and
  • the Commission for Research and Development.

The Ministry of Culture directly manages 32 national cultural institutions operating in individual areas of the cultural sector based in a number of Slovak towns (see chapter 7.1). The ministry finances their activities from its budget or contributes towards their activities.

The process of organisational and institutional reform of the state cultural sector has been defined as an initial requirement in previous concepts of cultural policy. There has been no detailed definition of individual instruments, procedures and possible effects of organisational changes on relations between the ministry and the organisations that it oversees. In 2007, the Ministry of Culture prepared for an audit of processes and personnel in all the stated organisations, including the administrative systems within its own organisation. The results of the audit and proposals for further measures will become known in 2008.

At the lower levels of public administration, the distribution of public financial resources and the management of cultural organisations has been the responsibility of self-governing regions (VUC - higher territorial units) since 2002. Slovakia is divided into 8 self-governing regions. Their assemblies (regional parliaments) are elected by the inhabitants of the governed region for terms of four years.

The powers of regional governments in the area of culture are governed by Act 302/2001, Act 416/2001 and other regulations relating to culture. The powers of the higher territorial units are:

  • the establishment of regional libraries, regional public education centres, including the establishment of observatories and planetariums, galleries and theatres;
  • the creation of conditions for the creation, presentation and development of cultural values and cultural activities within the region; and
  • support for the preservation of monuments and cultural heritage within the region.

The duties of the state administration are carried out by offices in each self-governing region. Their area of responsibility includes organisations of regional or greater importance - museums, galleries, theatres, libraries, public education centres and observatories. Five self-governing regions have a specific culture section in their organisational structure, in two regions culture is combined in a section with education, youth and sport and in one region it is combined with tourism and cultural heritage. The management activities of the self-governing regions focus mainly on financing the activities of the cultural organisations that have been put under the administration of the self-governing regions. The regions use most of the funding designated for culture for such activities. A much smaller portion is distributed through open calls for projects or individual grant schemes for culture (intended also for non-profit organisations or private-sector organisations). A number of self-governing regions have their own development programmes for culture.

At a local level (towns and villages), the powers and responsibilities of the local government in relation to culture are defined by Act 369/1990 and other legal regulations. The main powers and responsibilities of the public administration at the communal level in relation to culture are:

  • establishing municipal and school libraries, public education centres and public education facilities, galleries and theatres;
  • creating conditions for culture and public education activities (amateur artistic activity, cultural and public education activities, educational and recreational activities);
  • provision for the construction, maintenance and management of cultural facilities and cultural monuments owned by the municipality;
  • creation of conditions for the preservation of monuments and heritage areas within the municipality;
  • providing for the keeping of a municipal chronicle; and
  • producing lists of places of interest in the municipality.

This definition of powers and responsibilities means that municipal authorities usually combine cultural affairs with education and sport in their organisational structure. This corresponds to the perception and status of culture, at the level of towns and villages, as a mainly recreational activity (amateur activity by citizens) with an emphasis on local culture and its products.

The transfer of executive powers and responsibilities in the public financing of culture to regional and municipal authorities was codified by law in Slovakia in 2001. It is a long-term process that requires a gradual increase in the professional qualifications of regional and municipal administrative authorities in the area of culture. It is also important to engage local government in strategies and specific objectives in cultural development at the national level. This objective was developed in a working proposal prepared in the 2007 Plan for the development of local and regional culture. The material was developed in cooperation with the National Centre for Public Education and Culture and the Association of Towns and Villages of Slovakia. Further discussion of the material is planned for 2008.

Chapter published: 16-02-2011

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