Within the European framework, after political changes the Serbian Ministry immediately decided to participate actively in all international programmes relevant to the region (MOSAIC, CARDS programme, INTERREG III, Regional Programme for cultural and natural heritage in Southeast Europe, and the pilot project of local development Žagubica and Despotovac linked to the revitalisation of the mining village complex Senjski rudnici).
The working group of the National Convent about the European Union that deals with negotiation chapters Science and Research (25) and Education and Culture (26) was created in 2015. Twenty civil society organisations have participated in its creation. Chapter 26 was opened and temporarily closed on 27th February 2017. The working group prepared a report underlying what was done in this domain that qualifies Serbia for European integrations. The report starts with the fact that Serbia has ratified all the most important UN, UNESCO and Council of Europe’s conventions. Second, that culture is declared to be a common good (area of common interest). Especially important is international and regional cultural collaboration. Within the institutional framework, the report underlines new bodies such as the National Council for Culture and a wide network of public institutions (26). Under recent achievements are quoted: 1) the co-financing of projects that have international and especially EU funding; 2) the programme Cities in focus that endorse decentralisation of cultural life; 3) translation programme stimulating the publishing of Serbian authors in foreign languages; 4) Law on culture; 5) draft of a Strategy for cultural development 2017-2025; and 6) participation in the Creative Europe and Media programmes. Five areas are selected for a further elaboration in the future that are important for European integrations: implementation of the Convention 2005; approval of the Strategy for cultural development; participation in Creative Europe programmes (Culture, Media); support to participation of the City of Novi Sad in European Capitals of Culture programme and, finally, intention to join the European cultural label programme when it will be possible (at this moment, through the open method of coordination, the possibility for non-EU countries to join are debated).
Although chapter 26 deals with both education and culture in 2017 the report of EU commission states only the achievements in the field of education (“Serbia has achieved good level of preparedness in this domain. Certain advancement has been reached in the domain of curricula improvement and by creation of the national agency for Erasmus +. In next year Serbia has to raise participation of children in pre-school education, especially children from vulnerable groups and finalize framework for the national qualification system.”)
There are other chapters that are relevant within the framework of cultural policy, such as the question of Kosovo and Serbian heritage there (chapter 35).
The Ministry of Culture of Serbia prepared a dossier for application for observer status in the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie; its status was accorded at the meeting of OIF in Bucharest held on 29 September 2006. In the meantime, both the University of Belgrade and the University of Arts in Belgrade became members of Agence Universitaires de la Francophonie. The Ministry commissioned a survey regarding the capacity of the cultural sector to be included in francophone programmes and projects. The results showed that only 10% of cultural institutions had language skills, readiness and openness to be involved with such projects.
The Ministry of Culture is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The first Quadrennial Periodic Report has been submitted in 2014 and the new one is currently under preparation. In the new report, contribution of civil society has been taken in account although the Association of the independent cultural scene in Serbia has complained that their achievements are presented as collaborative achievements although the public support for NGOs that are active in the contemporary arts production is lacking.
Within the cooperation agreement with the Council of Europe, three conventions have been signed in September 2007: European Landscape Convention, Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro convention) and the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage during the Central Celebration of the European Heritage Days in Belgrade. One of the most significant events was the ratification of the UNESCO Convention for the promotion and protection of cultural diversity on29 May 2009.
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