As mentioned in chapter 1 and 1.2, until 2003 the cultural system was completely centralized. According to the government’s Decision on the Network of National Institutions in the Field of Culture (2003), a division of jurisdiction was made and 63 of 115 cultural institutions gained the status of local institutions. It meant that local authorities were responsible to provide financing of basic costs (salaries, running costs etc.) of these institutions. However, it was never put into practice since the Ministry of culture continued to finance these local institutions through a mechanism called monthly block-donations. This was usually justified due to the very unstable financial situation in most of the municipalities.
This kind of financial dependence of the cultural institutions is one of the weakest points in the Macedonian cultural system. Combined with other modes of legal interventions (appointing directors of the national institutions, the governing boards etc.), it gives the Ministry of culture almost complete control over the cultural institutions. 2021 saw two further examples of bad practice in appointing directors of cultural centres in Strumica and Tetovo where “political” interest prevailed over professional competence.
The Law on Local Self Government (2002) also re-allocated some responsibilities to the municipalities in the field of culture, such as: development of local interest in culture; institutional and financial support of cultural institutions and projects, preserving folklore, customs, old crafts and similar cultural values; organising cultural events; and encouragement of various specific forms of art. Municipalities also have the right to appoint directors of the local institutions and members of the governing boards.