Social inclusion is recognised as an important issue within the strategic plans of the Ministry of Culture and Media and the Ministry was appointed as an Intermediate Body Level 1 within the Croatian European Structural and Investment Funds Management and Control System for the 2014-2020 programming period for the Operational Programme Efficient Human Resources (OPEHR) 2014-2020. Within this Programme, the Ministry of Culture and Media is responsible for two specific objectives under two priority axes. Priority axis 2 deals with Social inclusion with its Investment priority 9.i – Active inclusion, with a view to promoting equal opportunities and active participation, and improving employability, and Specific objective 9.i.1 – Combating poverty and social exclusion by promoting labour market and social integration of vulnerable groups, and combating any form of discrimination. Since culture and media create a high quality platform for the social integration of various marginalised groups, such as youth and the elderly, as well as for the expansion of intercultural programmes that target different minorities, the activities will include support to community media, organisation of workshops, seminars, training, plays, various interactive events, production of media content etc., aimed at improving accessibility to arts and culture, promoting participation of vulnerable groups in the media and increasing their visibility, developing creativity, enabling active and healthy aging, encouraging active involvement in the community and strengthening the participation of artists, cultural workers and other relevant experts in their work with vulnerable groups.
On 12th December 2016, the Ministry of Culture and Media published an open (temporary) call for project proposals for the programme “Arts and Culture for Youth.” The first Call was closed on 21st April 2017 and it supported six projects that were supported with a sum of 2 968 221 HRK (395 762 EUR) while the second Call ended in 2018 and supported 11 projects with a total funding of 7.5 million HRK (1 million EUR). The main aim of the programme is overcoming the limitations of youth access to cultural and artistic content and activities and encouraging young people to actively participate in the cultural life of their communities. The general objective of the Call is to improve the social inclusion of young people in the Republic of Croatia, especially disadvantaged young people, through their greater participation in cultural and artistic activities and content.
Another axis of social inclusion instruments within this programme is a Call focusing on social inclusion and improving the quality of life of people over the age of 54 through improving their access to cultural and artistic activities. On 23rd May 2017, the Ministry of Culture and Media published an open (temporary) call for project proposals for the programme “Arts and Culture 54+”. The Call was closed on 24th July 2017 and 40 projects were selected with a total funding of 20 million HRK (2 666 666 EUR).
In addition, the ESF funding is also programmed for the development of social inclusion through the community media: on 15th of April 2019 the initial Call for project proposals for the programme “Media for the community – supporting social inclusion through media” was published and on 31st of July 2019 the results were presented to the public: 13 projects were supported with a total funding of 15 000 000 HRK (2 000 000 EUR).
Social inclusion is also relevant to the programmes related to the cultural projects of national minorities. The Ministry of Culture and Media supports programmes proposed by national minorities based on their artistic or cultural excellence. These follow the usual procedure and criteria applied to the selection of all proposals. However, there is a special fund for supporting activities and projects by national minorities, administered by the Government’s Council for National Minorities, which includes also cultural projects in the fields of arts and heritage, media, events and festivals as well as various projects promoting education, social cohesion and intercultural dialogue. Special provisions referring to education and cultural activities of the Roma people have been adopted through the National Programme for the Support of Roma and programmes such as the National Strategy for Roma Inclusion 2013-2020. Several bilateral agreements on cooperation in the field of culture and education include references to the cultural needs of national minorities and the activities of their respective associations and institutions.