The sessions of the Committee on Culture and Media at the National Assembly (Bulgaria’s legislative body) are allowed to be attended by citizens, as well as civil and trade union, professional and branch organisations. Their representatives may attend the sessions of the Committee on their own initiative, submit their written opinions and participate in the debates on the draft act by the National Assembly concerning their subject of activity. Each member of the leadership of the Committee on Culture and the Media may invite individuals or legal entities (NGOs) to attend the meeting to address the issues under discussion.
Civil organisations and NGOs also take their place in the Public Council of the Minister of Culture. This is an advisory body for decision-making and policy-making on public cultural policy issues. There are several quota for the amount of relevant professional and civic organisations, NGO’s and also citizens in the council.
The branch organisations (professional) in Bulgaria have the opportunity to lobby for concrete politics and law changes. Main actors among them are:
- Association of Film and Television Producers;
- Bulgarian Association of Music Producers;
- Union of Actors in Bulgaria;
- Union of Bulgarian Journalists;
- Union of Bulgarian Writers;
- Union of Bulgarian Composers;
- Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers;
- Union of Bulgarian Filmmakers.
The interest and desire of private businesses to support the development of culture and arts in Bulgaria is starting to grow. The most active are banks and financial institutions, service companies (communications, airlines, etc), distributors of foreign products, followed by industrial companies. Companies are most interested in providing sponsorship to:
• music – a considerable part of the support goes to popular forms;
• literature – supporting publications of particular books; and
• theatre – partnerships with mainly large, powerful companies.
Some banks are the main actors that support young talents, contemporary art and education in the cultural field in Bulgaria. For many years, Societe Generale has supported the National Academy of Arts and the International Ballet Competition in Varna. In January 2019, a majority stake of the company was acquired by OTP Bank, and cultural policies remain in place for the time being. In January 2012, UniCredit Bulbank opened its own contemporary art gallery, UniCredit Studio, which supports and represents Bulgarian and international authors.
The Centre for Culture and Debate “The Red House Andei Nikolov” (founded in 2004) is a platform to develop the independent arts scene and stimulate civic participation. The centre operates within three overarching programmes: “Society and Politics”, “Arts and Culture”, “Social Practices and Psychodrama”.