In accordance with the conception and priorities of international cooperation in the area of culture, the Slovak Republic maintains a permanent mission to the Council of Europe and the cultural programmes of the European Union. The provisions of Article 151.2 and 3 of the EU treaty have been incorporated as priorities in the cultural policy of the Slovak Republic, also in the area of international cooperation. The involvement of the Slovak Republic in the Culture 2000 and MEDIA programmes, and also the programme European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 and the Europe for Citizens programme is a determining factor in the implementation of international cultural cooperation. Slovakia has allocated adequate organisational and financial resources for the implementation of these programmes. The specific results of Slovak participation and cooperation in these programmes is regularly monitored and published on the website of the Ministry of Culture http://www.mksr.sk, the website of the Cultural Contact Point http://www.ccp.sk and the Office of Media Desk Slovensko http://www.mediadesk.sk. In 2006, 10 projects were supported under the Culture 2000 programme with support from Slovak entities, amounting to a total of euro 1 678 745.
The Slovak Republic is a member of the supranational (transnational) organisations the Central European Initiative and the Visegrad Group. The main priorities of Slovakia for cooperation on culture with the countries in the Visegrad group are as follows:
- Central European art projects: cross-border festivals, performances and joint exhibitions by young artists, the organisation of creativity camps, and support for journalism on Central European themes;
- the creation of a list of existing national events that are open to participants from other V4 member countries;
- cultural heritage, preservation of historic buildings and monuments;
- provision of grants and the award of prizes for essays on Central Europe; and
- initiatives for the creation of a common television programme presenting Visegrad topics on national public television broadcasters.
In order to implement these priorities and support projects in all areas of interest of the V4 countries, the International Visegrad Fund has been established on the 9 June 2000. (http://www.visegradfund.org).
The Central European Initiative (CEI) brings together 17 member countries. The former Czechoslovak Republic joined this initiative in May 1990 (sis months after the foundation of the initiative by four countries) and both successor countries of Czechoslovakia became members of the initiative. The main objectives in the creation of the CEI were to deepen and broaden economic cooperation between countries in the Central European region. 18 working groups were gradually established within the CEI and the Ministry of Culture became the coordinator of the CEI working group for culture and education in 1990. At present, the Ministry of Culture holds the long term chair of the CEI Working Group for Culture.
Through international cooperation in UNESCO, the Slovak Republic, either independently or by succession from the Czechoslovak Republic, is a contracting party to the following international conventions:
- Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2005);
- Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972);
- Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970);
- Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954), its execution regulations and two protocols (1954, 1999); and
- Universal Copyright Convention (1952, 1971).
The Ministry of Culture has overseen the legislative process for the ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The Convention was discussed and approved by the government on 8 November 2006. The National Council of the Slovak Republic then gave its assent to the convention on 12 December 2006 and it was submitted to the president of the Slovak Republic for ratification. The convention was ratified on 18 December 2006 and it entered into force on 18 March 2007. The supervisor for the execution of the convention is the Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Voluntary payments to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity will be provided through the budget of the Ministry of Culture.
The Slovak Republic takes part in the ECoC – European Capital of Culture project and, under Decision No 1622/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, it is entitled to propose one of the two European capitals of culture for 2013. The second of the two ECoCs for 2013 will be a city in France. In accordance with the rules and criteria of the project, the Ministry of Culture published a call for applications to be the 2013 ECoC in January 2007, together with all necessary information documents. In June 2007, the Ministry carried out a survey on the 2013 ECoC event. The objective of the survey was to obtain information on the initial number of applicants for the title of ECoC 2013 and on the questions that the cities answer in completing the candidate profile. The closing date for the submission of candidate profiles was 16 November 2007 and 9 Slovak towns and cities submitted candidate profiles by that date (Banská Bystrica, Bratislava, Dolný Kubín, Košice, Martin, Nitra, Prešov, TrenÄín, Trnava). The Selection Panel will select a shortlist of candidates on 31 December 2007. The final candidate city should be known in August 2008 and the Slovak Republic will submit its official nomination for ECoC 2013 by 31 December 2008.