After the Parliamentary elections in 2016 the new coalition Government (June 2017) announced its main cultural priorities (freedom of creativity, equality, universal good) and most important principles (accessibility, inclusiveness, cultural democracy, new models of financing culture etc.) and the necessary reforms in the field of culture (as well as the reforms of the whole system) became main cultural policy issues. Most of the issues were elaborated in the new National Strategy for Cultural Development. During 2017/2018 the Ministry of Culture had started with some of the announced reforms establishing 20 working groups for revising the most important issues in the global cultural policy (decentralisation, new laws in the field of culture, transformation of the Ministry of Culture, international cooperation, cultural industries, protection of the cultural heritage, museums, “Skopje 2014” etc.). However, in 2018, although most of the working groups delivered their analysis and suggestions, the expected continuance with the reforms had suddenly stopped. Since 2018 the word “reforms in culture” is barely in use in the everyday communication of the Ministry of Culture or the Government. Despite the often public questions on this issue, there was no clear explanation about this from the Ministry of Culture or the Government.
Although the key issue of the National Strategy, the new Government (September 2020) also does not mention the reforms in the field of culture, setting some new “priorities” such as: protection of cultural heritage, international cooperation, youth and culture etc.
In December 2020 an online Peer Review on the cultural policy of North Macedonia was exercised by the Council of Europe expert group. The following main challenges have been identified:
- the need to reform public administration to improve transparency on management and spending,
- to improve data collection on the culture and creative sectors,
- to digitize procedure,
- to operationalize policy vision,
- to reward merit,
- to value professional expertise over political appointments.