1. Cultural policy system
Last update: April, 2020
Objectives: Following the accession to the European community structures, the documents of the Romanian cultural strategies began to gradually include the principles and objectives in order to meet the European Union standards. The first document of the kind, at national level, was the Sectoral Strategy in the Field of Culture and National Heritage for the period 2014-2020. This Strategy was designed starting from the immediate reality of the field of culture and proposes a specific direction of development, in accordance with the tendencies and priorities that the European Union and the other international actors had already set at that time.
Despite the fact that this Strategy was not officially adopted by the state authorities, we must emphasize the strong positive impact of the Strategy (mostly dedicated to the public cultural sector, yet without neglecting the private sector) on the actual activity of all the stakeholders in the cultural field.
Another project of the Strategy for Culture and National Heritage 2016-2022, generated by the need to update the existing strategic framework, has been on public debate, but it has not been completed. The draft of this document highlights the need for and the importance of the cultural and creative sectors, continuing the main ideas of the previous Sectoral Strategy. Although the data provided by the National Institute for Cultural Research and Training were the same, the document contains several inadequate or overly optimistic interpretations generated by the will to urge measures and directions for the private cultural sector found only in the big urban areas.
Therefore, at the national level, there are three main documents that define cultural policy objectives: G.D. no. 90/2010 with subsequent changes and amendments, Sectoral Strategy on Culture and National Heritage for 2014-2020 and the current Governing Programme for 2018-2020.
It is important to note that a large consensus on the fundamental principles underlying cultural policies has been achieved in 2010 when G.D. no. 90/2010 on the organisation and functioning of the Ministry (then Ministry of Culture and Heritage) was adopted. Throughout the subsequent revisions and modifications of G.D. no. 90/2010, the essence of the principles underlying cultural policies was kept intact:
- Cultural creation is a privileged domain with freedom of expression being the cornerstone of human progress.
- Support and promotion of fundamental cultural rights for all citizens (access to culture and participation in cultural life) should be ensured in their interdependence with the other fundamental rights.
- The right to cultural, religious and linguistic diversity should be supported, respected and protected.
- The cultural and creative sectors should be promoted as an important factor in the process of sustainable development and as an essential instrument for social cohesion and the fight against social exclusion.
- Creativity and contemporary creation must be promoted and stimulated as an unwavering factor for human development and quality of life.
- The central role of culture and arts, of creativity and innovation in the knowledge-based society must be promoted as should be the promotion of culture as a key factor for attaining the objectives set forth in the European Agenda.
- The national cultural heritage must be protected, as it is a determinant factor of Romanian cultural identity as well as a non-renewable resource (modified by G.D. no. 563/2012).
- Cultural identities, traditions and heritage, tangible and intangible heritage must be protected and respected.
- Intellectual property of creators and artists should be protected and respected.
The main policy objectives identified in the Sectoral Strategy on Culture and National Heritage for 2014-2020 are presented below:
- The two sector specific objectives are: cultural heritage and contemporary creation.
- The three inter-sectoral strategic objectives are: education, professional training and cultural intervention, capacity building and development of cultural infrastructure.
- The four transversal strategic objectives are: digitisation of cultural resources, diversification of cultural consumption and offer, export and internationalisation of cultural goods and services for a specific target group – the youth.
The three inter-sectoral strategic objectives were identified on the basis of research and studies carried out by the National Institute for Cultural Research and Training, that showed a large imbalance in terms of access to and consumption of cultural goods and services between the various regions of Romania and in particular between the rural and small urban areas on the one hand, and large cities, on the other hand. This imbalance was further accentuated by the lack of cultural infrastructure in some areas as well as by the lack of continuity of cultural programmes and projects developed by cultural NGOs, due to the scarcity of public funding schemes available and to the volatility of the management and specialised skills within these entities.
In its chapter dedicated to culture, religious groups and national minorities, the Governing Programme for 2018-2020 states that culture is a priority and places it as a cornerstone when fighting against intolerance and social exclusion, as well as for education, professional training, national identity and democracy. The most important cultural policy objectives set forth in the Governing Programme are:
- Drawing up public policies to complete a transversal strategy that should bring together culture, art, academic research and education, at both secondary and tertiary levels.
- The need for a transversal approach of the fields of culture and tourism through the valorisation, protection and promotion of the (tangible and intangible) cultural heritage.
- Fostering and proper funding for the cultural and creative sectors of Romania.
- Support for the independent creators and cultural NGOs, by facilitating their access to funding dedicated to the cultural sector.
- Developing a transparent and competitive system of purchasing contemporary cultural creations, within the field of visual arts.
- Development of the cultural infrastructure and recovery of the industrial heritage by reconverting disused industrial spaces into cultural hubs.
- Digitisation of the cultural heritage in response to the current technological revolution.
- Support for the Romanian cinema industry.
- Financial support for the European action Timisoara – European Capital of Culture.
- Ensuring a climate of peace between religious groups, as well as religious freedom and non-discrimination on religious criteria.
- Promoting cultural diversity with a view to eliminating prejudices and acknowledging common values.
As it can be observed, the objectives listed in all the strategic documents presented above are, generally speaking, convergent, addressing most of the major issues identified by the studies and research carried out in the preceding period, in particular by the National Institute for Cultural Research and Training. The objectives and related issues are consistent with the evolution trends based on the statistical data collected and supplied by the above mentioned institute in collaboration with the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
Main features: In Romania, in particular since 2005, the main features that underlie cultural policies are:
- Tangible and intangible heritage protection.
- Promotion and support for contemporary creation.
- Capacity building, in particular with a view to reorganising the obsolete managerial system of public cultural institutions and the roles and responsibilities of the decentralised services of the Ministry.
- Cultural democratisation, both in terms of access and participation of citizens and in terms of access of non-state cultural actors to public financing schemes (as provided by Art. 33 of the Constitution of Romania).
Article 33 of the Constitution of Romania states that:
(1) The access to culture is guaranteed under the law.
(2) A person's freedom to develop his/her spirituality and to get access to the values of national and universal culture shall not be limited.
(3) The State must make sure that spiritual identity is preserved, national culture is supported, arts are stimulated, cultural legacy is protected and preserved, contemporary creativity is developed, and Romania's cultural and artistic values are promoted throughout the world.
Under the effect of Art. 33 of the Constitution, the field of culture shifted from its previous status of political propaganda instrument to that of public service assumed by the state. This change in status did not have an impact on the structures, though – i.e. at the level of the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, of the local authorities and public institutions. There is still a lack of understanding of the status of public institutions and efforts are made for them to be redirected towards the communities of beneficiaries. Another administrative effect of this conceptual gap is that the entire network of public institutions has a rather unresponsive behaviour towards the beneficiaries. At one point there was a tendency of accountability through management, but the law on management is one of the pivots the system should have been built on. It cannot solve, per se, all the problems of the public institutions.
One of the recurrent themes of the political debate is related to the decentralisation of cultural institutions. It should be reminded that in 1990 Romania inherited a heavily centralised system including that of public cultural institutions. Although decentralisation was a “hot topic” in the political discourse, cultural public institutions and, in many cases, local authorities were not very keen in supporting such initiatives. Arguments against such a decision ranged from “loss of prestige” (if a “national institution” became a “local institution”), fear of political interference at the local level, including discretionary power to change managers, fear of losing the preferential system of wages in force for national institutions and, last but not least, the fear of diminishing existing public subsidies with a direct effect on the quality and quantity of the specific cultural output of the respective institutions. Many of these fears were baseless and therefore the policies drafted by the Ministry in this respect in 2006-2007 were never implemented. As a result, there are still 43 public cultural institutions directly subordinated to the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, in addition to the 42 decentralised heritage services of the Ministry. Most of the other cultural institutions are placed outside the influence of the Ministry of Culture, as a result of the Law on the local public administration (Law no. 215/2001). However, all these cultural institutions aim to become subordinated to the Ministry.
Although the Ministry of Culture and National Identity has lately reduced its competencies significantly, being mainly concerned with the administration of the emblematic national institutions still under its subordination, the Ministry is considered the main entity meant to ensure the overall architecture of all the public policies and strategies dedicated to culture
Although the relationship between national cultural policies and local cultural policies is not clearly regulated, in practice it can be noticed that local (county, municipal, etc.) cultural policies draw heavily from the objectives set forth by the national cultural policies.
Background: From 1945 until 1989, with a few short periods of relapse (1965-1971), Romania was the theatre for one of the most refined and detailed totalitarian experiments in Eastern Europe. Naturally, culture was one of the most affected fields, as the state grip on individual private lives and collective mentalities alike was all-encompassing and accomplished through culture as a propaganda instrument.
In 1947, a new regime was established, the People's Republic, which was placed in 1948 under the single rule of the Romanian Workers' (later Communist) Party. During 1948-1949, all the other traditional political parties were brutally disbanded and most of their leaders imprisoned. As a member of Kominform (the international structure of Communist parties for media and culture), COMECON and the Warsaw Pact in the economic and military / strategic fields, Romania started to implement the socialist Zhdanov Doctrine, also known as "socialist realism", at the domestic level. This doctrine prescribed the obedience of all actors in cultural life towards the new regime, correlated with state control of the whole "cultural chain", from budgetary resources and facilities, to the very content of cultural products that had to be adapted and aligned to the new Soviet standards. All mass media, including television, were placed under systematic censorship, both through the presence of political propaganda by specialised departments and through the close monitoring of all forms of media content. This firm grasp on the cultural and creative life was accompanied by the progressive multiplication of various administrative entities and structures such as the Propaganda Secretariat of the Communist Party Central Committee and the Council of Socialist Education and Culture (CSEC). The public authority pyramid system was reinforced by the political hierarchy, in close communication and often employing the same human and management resources, and it thus completed the repression of any attempt of underground culture.
Romania's progress cannot be fully understood and evaluated without taking into account the mutation process in the field of collective mentalities in general, of culture and cultural policies in particular. As a consequence of the control of the whole system and political behaviour before 1989, the 1990s presented a frantic and sometimes incoherent succession of actions.
No less than 28 different Ministers of Culture took office between 1990 and 2019, but none of them managed to raise the problem of a reform of the system, or to approach the field from a general perspective connected to the other fields. Contradictory approaches, resilience of old structures and habits, and the lack of political initiative, coupled with a progressive devaluation of culture's rank within the national budgetary system, reduced the chances for a real reform of the system.
1996 marked the arrival to governmental affairs of the Romanian Democratic Convention, a coalition of liberals, social-democrats and Christian-democrats. The problems related to cultural structures and patterns of public policies are mainly related to the tension between the welfare and liberal mission of the state.
This period is marked by a number of foundations operating in the field of culture, which had a major role in culture's democratisation (e.g. the Soros Foundation), as well as in the modernisation of some forms of cultural expressions in the fields of visual or performing arts (e.g. contemporary dance or the rebranding of the Museum of Contemporary Art).
Under these symmetrical pressures, the structures of the Ministry of Culture (which also included Religious Affairs at the time) - (MoCRA) - were forced to evolve, in terms of increased transparency and cooperation, and to meet the needs of the stakeholders in the domains of policy and decision making. Until 1997, the drafting of public cultural policies was exclusively carried out on a closed-circuit basis, which included MoCRA's civil servants and decision-makers of the Ministry. In 1997, a Consultative Council of the Ministry was set up, with the possibility for representatives of relevant stakeholders to participate in its meetings periodically.
In 2001, several Regional Cultural Forums were set up, which analysts considered a bad example, as they were similar to previous communist structures of the kind.
In the autumn of 2005, the new popular liberal coalition, The Justice and Truth Alliance, brought a new, increasingly transparent vision of public cultural policies. MoCRA ceased to be a mere cultural operator, administering and distributing public funds and organising events. It aimed to complete the transfer of its competencies related to the financing of cultural programs and events to such organisations as the Natural Cultural Fund (currently the Administration of the National Cultural Fund). Also in 2005, the Public Policy Unit within the Ministry of Culture was established, under Government Decision no. 775/2005, followed by a Centre for Cultural Research and the reform of the Centre for Training and Qualification in cultural occupations.
Since 2006, three proposals for public policies have been developed and approved: to redefine institutions and companies in the field of performing arts, to develop the cultural services in rural and small urban areas, and to digitise the national cultural resources. Furthermore, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage drafted the decentralisation strategy for culture and the National Strategy on Cultural Heritage and participated in the drafting of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development.
Since 2007 progress has been made regarding the implementation and compliance with EU law and procedures related to financing opportunities for Romania as an EU member state.
During 2009 a series of proposals were set out for developing a public policy that supports creativity in the field of culture, a strategy aiming to support and stimulate cultural small and medium-sized companies. Furthermore, a strategy for increasing the absorption of non-reimbursable external (structural and community) funds for culture was promoted. Romania's relationship with the EU and all EU-related issues were covered in the Strategic Plan for the Years 2009-2013 of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, including all cultural, audiovisual and related sectors.
From the issue of G.D. no. 90/2010 on the organisation and functioning of the Ministry of Culture, modified by it. 1 of art. I of H.G. no. 597/2017, which changes the title of the central public authority into the current designation - Ministry of Culture and National Identity, culture has remained a controversial topic. Beyond the structural changes of the Ministry and constant public budget cuts, culture has generated tensions and frictions between the representatives of the Government and the people working in the cultural and creative sectors.
Unfortunately, after 2011, the pace of drawing up the necessary standard-setting acts has slowed down, the concern for policies and strategies diminished, and the approach on culture as a unitary system of intervention for the use of the citizen has become a desideratum.
After a short period (2011-2014) of strengthening the preoccupation for urging a cultural management via intensive training of the former managers of public institutions, the Ministry of Culture (with titles including or excluding: the Religious Groups, Heritage or National Identity) completely abandoned its concern for a coherent system legislation or for the setting of priority action directions.
After the economic crisis, whose delayed impact reconfigured decentralised institutions or services with competencies at national level, the downsizing of the infrastructure has continued to produce negative effects, affecting the budgets and the wages of cultural personnel as well.
In 2013-2014 the National Institute for Cultural Research and Training was established, through the merger of the Centre for Research and Consultancy in the Field of Culture with the Centre for Professional Training in Culture; the Institute took over a large part of the tasks related to cultural strategies and took upon itself the difficult task to improve and develop the cultural statistics and systematic research of the consumption in relation to the cultural offer.
In the period 2012-2018, the law on salaries applied to the entire public system made the wages less attractive, which led to a migration of personnel toward the private field. Since 2017, through political pressure, some categories of employees have obtained unjustified salary raises, non-correlated to a quantity or quality of their work. These vertical measures have generated significant inequalities between the professionals of performing arts and concert institutions and the other types of institutions, as well as major discontents.
On the background of the decrease of its role in regulating the field of culture, the Ministry decided that the following period (2019-2020) would be dedicated to several priority goals related to:
- the draw up of the Code of Heritage – which will gather the special regulations for the immoveable, moveable and intangible heritage – due in 2020;
- carrying out ex-ante analyses for drawing up the Strategy on Culture for the new funding framework 2021-2027;
- projects for transversal strategies, together with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Tourism;
- development of the framework for the unfolding and monitoring of the project Timisoara - Capital of Culture 2021.
Last update: April, 2020
Last update: April, 2020
Within the Government, the responsibilities for drafting, promoting and implementing cultural policies belong, primarily, to the Ministry of Culture and National Identity. The overall policy objectives and main activities that should be carried out by the Ministry of Culture and National Identity are set forth in G.D. no. 90/2010 with its subsequent revisions and in the Governing Programme adopted by Parliament (currently the Governing Programme covers the period 2018-2020 as described supra in chapter 2.3.).
The Ministry of Culture and National Identity also has overall responsibility for the management of the state budget allocated for its own operations and activities as well as for all its subordinated public cultural institutions. Another area of major importance that falls within the competence of the Ministry of Culture and National Identity is that of drafting and proposing to the Government primary and secondary legislation and the adoption of specific rules and regulations to facilitate the implementation of the aforementioned legislation.
In order to fulfil its mission, the Ministry of Culture and National Identity relies on several standing committees/commissions created by special legal provisions with a view to help with the drafting of sectoral/sub-sectoral policies, legislation and regulations, as well as of professional rules and guidelines. These standing committees/commissions also play an important part in the decision-making process, mainly in the field of heritage protection and public forum monuments. Their members are recognized as specialists in their respective fields proposed by the various categories of stakeholders and nominated by the Minister for renewable two-year mandates. These commissions are:
- National Commission for Historical Monuments (with its eight subordinated regional commissions). It has a decision-making role with respect to classification/declassification of historical monuments on a basis of professional criteria. Its decisions are formalised by an administrative order of the minister.
- National Commission of Archaeology. It has similar competences to those of the National Commission for Historical Monuments, but with respect to archaeological sites.
- National Commission of Museums and Collections. It decides upon the classification/declassification of moveable cultural goods. It issues rules for: the trade of moveable cultural goods, their conservation and restoration as well as for the accreditation of experts and specialised laboratories.
- National Commission of Libraries. It issues rules and methodologies for the overall activity of the national system of libraries including university and school libraries (with or without legal personality).
- National Commission for Public Forum Monuments. It analyses and issues the reports required for the approval of the placement of public forum monuments.
- National Commission for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. It issues criteria and standards for identification, evaluation, conservation and valorisation of intangible cultural heritage and cultural expressions of communities. It also issues the title of “living human treasures” and proposes elements of intangible cultural heritage to be enrolled on the UNESCO list.
In each of the 41 counties of Romania, as well as in Bucharest, the Ministry of Culture and National Identity has its own decentralised services (County Directorates for Culture and National Identity). These services connects the Ministry and local authorities, and operate under the coordination of the county “Prefect” (the person representing the Government at the county level). Their main activities are related to the supervision of the state of conservation, the restoration and valorisation of cultural heritage, irrespective of the ownership regime applicable.
While the cultural sector, at the national level, is mainly funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, there are other ministries that allocate funds for the provision of various cultural services: Ministry of National Defence (for historical monuments, museums, cultural centres), Ministry of National Education (for artistic and vocational education and training), Ministry of Research and Innovation (for research activities related to culture), Ministry of Internal Affairs (for the National Archives, cultural centres and folklore orchestras), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (through the network of the Romanian Cultural Institute) ensures the promotion of Romanian culture abroad. The promotion of Romanian culture is at the same time one of core activities and funding priorities of the Romanian Cultural Institute which is not part of the Government, but operates under Parliamentary control, alongside with three other main autonomous cultural bodies: National Audiovisual Council, Romanian Radio Society and Romanian Television Society.
The Romanian Office for Copyrights is directly subordinated to the Government and coordinated by the Ministry of Culture. It is the sole regulatory authority, which keeps records via national registries; it also has competences of supervision, authorisation, arbitration and technical and scientific endorsement in the field of copyrights and connected rights.
Last update: April, 2020
Romania does not have a level of regional authorities, per se. The local administrative authorities are, according to the Constitution of Romania: the counties, municipalities, towns, communes. The eight “development regions” have been created with a view to supporting and enhancing cooperation between a certain number of counties and do not have administrative, legislative or financing competences. These competences lie, according to the Romanian Constitution and administrative system, with the local authorities (i.e. counties, municipalities, towns and communes).
Last update: April, 2020
At the local level, the different autonomous territorial authorities exercise their competences, with the respect to cultural affairs, by developing and adopting local cultural policies, deciding upon the allocation of the local budget for their subordinated public cultural institutions and for other cultural programmes and projects. By virtue of these powers, local authorities can also fund their own cultural administration and create cultural units in order to implement the established cultural policies.
There are 103 municipalities, 215 towns and 2861 communes in Romania and, as a general rule, local authorities have a Commission for Culture within the local deliberative body of the county/municipal/town council, made of elected members of that body. In most municipalities and major urban areas, the overall supervision of cultural affairs is entrusted to a technical/specialised department within the respective local authority. Various public institutions have been set up by several local authorities with a view to exercising, by delegation of competences in the cultural field, a series of actions with regard to financing cultural projects, heritage conservation and organisation of public cultural events. The participatory dimension of cultural actors and of civil society at large in the cultural policies processes differs widely from one local authority to another.
The development and adoption of comprehensive cultural policies have received a major boost in 2014-2015, when the competition for the nomination of a Romanian city as European Capital of Culture 2021 was launched. It should be noted that in the drafting process of these cultural policies, there was a massive interest and an ongoing participation of all local stakeholders, which contributed to raising the awareness of the local communities on the added value that culture can bring about.
Last update: April, 2020
Although non-governmental actors occurred after 1990, their range of activities and impact vary widely. According to the list of registered NGOs made by the Romanian Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies, there are 187 active cultural NGOs in Romania, at the moment of writing. Their geographical distribution shows a polarisation around the major cities in Romania and NGOs are more active in the largest cities (with over 100,000 inhabitants). Their activities are mainly project-based and therefore depend upon adequate financing for these projects. Local authorities do not organise periodic consultations with non-governmental actors with a view to developing and shaping local cultural policies. A notable exception was the drafting of cultural policies for most of the 21 cities that entered the competition for the nomination of a Romanian city as European Capital of Culture 2021, when non-governmental actors were invited and participated actively in the process. A great part of this private sector is based on the human resource trained or even simultaneously employed in the public sector, which makes clear statistics harder. Mostly established as associations and foundations, they start by registering as operators with multiple NACE codes, reported irregularly.
At the central level, the Ministry of Culture has organised consultations with both public cultural institutions and non-governmental bodies with a view to discussing draft cultural policies (e.g. in 2013-14 and 2016) as well as proposed changes in cultural legislation (e.g. cinema law, copyright law). The most active non-governmental bodies are those involved in cinema and collective management of rights. Some NGOs have developed special expertise in the fields related to cultural policies and, from the empirical evidence gathered, it appears that these NGOs have, in recent years, become recognised and permanent dialogue partners with some local authorities. The extent and continuity of such dialogues and partnerships have not, as yet, been analysed and therefore no statistical data can be provided in this respect.
Last update: April, 2020
Inter-ministerial and intra-governmental cooperation is formalised in general through specific legal provisions (Law no. 90/2001 on the organisation of Government and Ministries) pertaining to the activity and functioning of the Government. The process of drafting, adoption and monitoring of public strategies and policies at the central level is regulated by G.D. no. 870/2006 and G.D. no. 775/2005, which establish the competences of the different ministries and the intra-governmental procedures in this respect. Thus, any public policy or strategy initiated by a ministry has to be adopted by the Government following a mandatory approval at the level of each of the ministries whose domain of activity is influenced or affected by the respective policy or strategy.
Any public policy or legislative initiative that may have an impact on the cultural sector has to be evaluated by the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, which, through its specialised services, can propose amendments or require additional information with a view to a proportionate representation of the interests of various cultural stakeholders. The Government approves and/or adopts policies, legislation and regulations only if all ministries express their agreement and validate the proposals through the intra-governmental consultation procedure. Whenever major changes are foreseen in the existing legal or public policy framework, inter-ministerial committees are created, with the participation of all ministries representing the sectors or sub-sectors targeted, influenced or affected by these changes.
The general framework for the inter-ministerial cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and National Identity with other national administrative bodies can be found in G.D. no. 90/2010 which identifies, inter alia, specific objectives for such a cooperation:
- Cooperation with the Ministry of Regional Development and Public and Administration, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Environment for a national strategy in order to mitigate the impact on the national cultural heritage generated by spatial planning and transport infrastructure development projects.
- Cooperation with the ministries responsible for education, research, youth and sports for the development or artistic and vocational curricula and the diversification of specialised training necessary in the cultural sector.
- Cooperation with the ministries responsible for foreign affairs, regional development and tourism for the elaboration of a national strategy to promote the values of Romanian culture and to develop cultural tourism in Romania.
- Cooperation with the ministries responsible with economy, trade and business environment, labour and social protection in order to create the necessary framework for developing the cultural economy and to support cultural and creative SMEs.
- Cooperation with the law enforcement agencies and the judiciary in the fight against criminal activities related to cultural heritage.
In order to address specific issues, several inter-ministerial advisory bodies were created. In 2012, with a view to preparing the implementation of European funds for 2014-2020, an Advisory Thematic Committee for Tourism, Culture and Cultural Heritage was set up under the joint coordination of the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, the Ministry of European Affairs and the Ministry for Regional Development and Tourism. After the subsequent reorganisation of the Government whereby the Ministry of European Affairs was incorporated into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the competences of the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism were split up between the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration, the activity of this advisory thematic committee was discontinued.
G.O. no. 5/2017 on establishing certain organisational measures with regard to the Romanian Centennial Anniversary, entrusted the Ministry of Culture with the task of coordinating the preparation, organisation and implementation of all projects dedicated to this anniversary and instituted an inter-ministerial committee with this purpose. The committee is presided by the prime minister and made up of representatives of the Ministry of Culture, the Secretariat-General of the Government, the Ministry of Public Finances, the Ministry for Regional Development and Public Administration, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the Romanian Cultural Institute. G.O. no. 5/2017 was amended by E.G.O. no. 22/2018.
In 2017 an inter-ministerial committee coordinated by the Ministry of Culture and where representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Romanian Cultural Institute, Ministry of Tourism and the General Secretariat of the Government sit as members, was created to supervise the preparations to participate in the 2019-2020 International Festival Europalia in Brussels. E.G.O. no. 16/2018 brought about several changes in the organisational framework of this committee and instituted a working group under the direct responsibility of the Romanian Cultural Institute.
Similarly, an inter-ministerial committee was set up for the organisation of the Cultural Season Romania-France from December 2018 to July 2019, where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was designated as coordinator and the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, the Romanian Cultural Institute, the Ministry of National Defence and the Secretariat-General of the Government participate, according to E.G.O. no. 16/2018.
A national partnership for spatial planning coordinated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, was instituted in 2016 to create specific cooperation platforms for the national public administration, local public administration, business environment and the professional and scientific sector. It is aimed at an integrated and inter-sectorial strategic approach to a balanced development of the entire Romanian territory. The Ministry of Culture is part of this partnership, having overall responsibility for the protection of historical monuments, archaeological sites and their protection zones.
The Ministry of Culture is, by tradition, a natural partner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Romanian Cultural Institute on issues related to the promotion of Romanian culture abroad. However, the level of cooperation has varied throughout the years due to the numerous changes of ministers and of the presidents of the Romanian Cultural Institute.
The Ministry of Culture cooperates with local authorities to develop balanced approaches for the restoration, conservation and valorisation of historical monuments, archaeological sites and their protection zones, as well as for the provision of cultural services by local public cultural institutions. This cooperation is developed on the basis of the specific provisions set forth in the cultural legislative framework and the main actors in this respect are the decentralized services of the Ministry. However, contrasting views are sometimes expressed, criticizing the Ministry of Culture's tendency to focus on the protection of historical monuments and of protected areas, while the local authorities are supporting various urbanisation and spatial planning initiatives that may affect the protected areas of the cultural sites.
Last update: April, 2020
The cultural institutions in Romania can be divided in two categories: the institutions from the public sector and from the private sector. The public sector is dominated by the so-called national basic infrastructure (BIS), i.e. the main public cultural institutions subordinated to and financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Identity (see chapter 1.2.1). Most of the public cultural institutions are subordinated to the Local Public Administrations. Recently, there have been many tensions between the Government and the public cultural institutions due to the budget cuts that are blocking the activity of those institutions. However, it’s a fact that the cultural sector is still under financed in Romania. Although official data show that the Ministry of Culture and National Identity’s budget has increased by almost 31% since 2018, these increases are mostly due to wage raises operated by the government and are not always reflected in the quality of the cultural products offered to the public.
The only general classification on types of public cultural institutions is regulated by special laws, as follows:
- Museums, collections and exhibitions
- A non-specific category under the name of "cultural establishments", which comprises: cultural centres with a diverse activity, people's art schools, people's universities, folk centres, culture houses, rural culture houses.
There is no classification for criteria such as quality, size, accessability level (per number of inhabitants) or quantity (cultural equipment, rooms, seats or technical equipment). The only difference between institutions of the same type is the level of the authority they are subordinated to, and this criterion also makes the difference in the personnel's wages.
We cannot draw a parallel between the levels of public and private infrastructures, because of both the lack of relevant statistical information and the excessive dynamics of private cultural organisations' occurrence and disappearance.
Each year, more and more companies decide to sponsor the events and projects of the cultural sector, but the law on sponsorship is obsolete and unattractive to the potential sponsors. Moreover, the major policy trends concerning the relationship between the public and private cultural sector have evolved in the last few years. A significant number of public performing arts institutions have developed partnerships with cultural NGOs either by co-producing events, programmes and projects or by hosting private theatrical or musical productions of cultural NGOs. Cultural education programmes, workshops and masterclasses are also jointly developed in the framework of these partnerships. These are trends that have developed in the last several years, but are mainly witnessed in major cities.
Last update: April, 2020
Table: Cultural institutions, by sector and domain
|Domain||Cultural institutions (subdomains)||Public sector||Private sector|
|2014||2019||Trend last 5 years (In %)||2014||2019||Trend last 5 years (In %)|
|Cultural heritage||Archaeological sites recognized by the Ministry of Culture and National Identity1||13,277||17.808||34.1%||NA||NA||-|
|(Historical) cultural heritage sites recognized by the Ministry of Culture and National Identity2||29,303 (data available for year 2010)||29.898 (data available for year 2015 – last update)||2.0%||NA||NA||-|
|Museums||Museums institutions and museographic collections3||648 (data available for year 2015)||683 (data available for year 2018)||5.4%||90 (data available for year 2015)||104 (data available for year 2018)||15.5%|
|Archives||Archives (of public authorities)*4||42||42||0%||NA||NA||-|
|Visual arts||Art galleries / exhibition halls||NA||NA||-||NA||NA||-|
|Performing arts||Stable stage spaces for theatres5||92 (2015)||89 (2018)||-3.2%||7 (2015)||12 (2018)||71.4%|
|Concert houses (Opera houses)6||9 (2015)||9 (2018)||0%||NA||NA||-|
|Performing arts and concert companies7||41 (2015)||42 (2018)||2.4%||15 (2015)||8 (2018)||-46.6%|
|Dance and ballet companies8||6 (2015)||1 (2018)||-83.3%||2 (2015)||1 (2018)||-50%|
|Symphonic orchestras9||23 (2015)||25 (2018)||8.6%||1 (2015)||0 (2018)||-100%|
|Libraries||Libraries10||9,868 (2015)||9.215 (2018)||-6.6%||350 (2015)||367 (2018)||4.8%|
|Publishers (newspapers and magazines)11||127 (2015)||126 (2018)||-0.7%||449 (2015)||436 (2018)||-2.8%|
|Audiovisual||Cinemas (number of halls)12||7||29||314.2%||123||359||191.8%|
|Broadcasting organisations (Radio and Television channels)13||30 (2015)||31 (2018)||3.3%||481 (2015)||700 (2018)||45.5%|
|Music production companies||NA||NA||-||NA||NA||-|
|Interdisciplinary||Socio-cultural centres14||25 (2015)||26 (2018)||4%||4 (2015)||0 (2018)||-100%|
(1) – National Archaeological Record of Romania, database curated and administrated by the National Heritage Institute, last update: August 12nd, 2019; (2) – List of historical monuments in Romania recognized by the Ministry of Culture and National Identity (The National Heritage Institute), last update: 2015; (3), (5)-(11), (13), (14) – Activity of the cultural-artistic units, 2015 and 2018 years, The National Institute of Statistics, last update: 2019; (4) – Ministry of Internal Affairs official website; (12) – Cinematography Registry, National Centre of Cinematography, last update: 2019;
Notes: NA – Not Available; * The number refers only to the 42 County Directorates of the National Romanian Archives Institution. These Directorates are subordinated to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Last update: April, 2020
As a general rule the budgetary allocations for culture, both at the central and local levels are neither increasing nor stagnating. The recent (2017-2019) increase in salaries for professionals within public institutions has put a strain on the budget of these institutions as the overall public allocations were not correspondingly increased. This situation has hampered the cultural activity of the public institutions and it led to a profound dissatisfaction of all types of workers. Recently, the artists have organised several protests to express their indignation over the way the Government deals with the financial aspects of the main public cultural institutions.
The recent cuts from the budget affected not only the public cultural institutions, but also the private cultural sector. The Administration of the National Cultural Fund (ANCF) is a public institution subordinated to the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, the unique institution in Romania that has been financing independent cultural projects (theatre performances, dance performances, concerts, festivals, exhibitions, etc.). In the last four years, over 1000 cultural projects have been launched in Romania with the support of the ANCFgrants, many of them taking place in rural areas and in areas where people do not have access to culture at all. Unlike the public institutions that apply for the ANCF grants, for some of the private institutions and associations these grants are the only funding sources, therefore their cultural activity relies on the ANCF funds, which were significantly diminished with the latest budget cuts.
However, the partnerships between public cultural institutions and cultural NGOs were developed both as a way to diversify the cultural offer and to meet the diverse cultural needs of the public and as a way to secure adequate financing for different programmes or projects. They are mostly formalised via partnership agreements and range in scope from one project to whole programmes.
According to the data of the study Trends of the philanthropic behaviour and the practice of fundraising (The Association for Community Relations, 2016), only under 5% of all the “2% of income tax” donations from individual donors are redirected to the cultural sector, whilst the healthcare sector is the first choice of the Romanian donors and it receives over 45% of the donations. Unlike individual donors, within the business sector, the main beneficiaries of the sponsorships are the NGOs. This can be explained through the legislation on NGOs as well as through their operational flexibility.
Last update: April, 2020
The main national actors responsible for international cultural cooperation are the Ministry of Culture, the Romanian Cultural Institute and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs promotes and supports cultural cooperation via its specific diplomatic instruments, including the activity of the cultural attachés, the Romanian Cultural Institute is entrusted with the mission to present, promote and protect Romania’s culture and civilisation and to support the free flow of values of culture and science and consolidate and amplify the relations with Romanian communities abroad.
The international mission of the Ministry of Culture encompasses not only the promotion of Romania’s cultural values within the international arena, but also the initiation and negotiation of international/regional/bilateral conventions, protocols and agreements in the cultural field.
The main objectives and trends that guide the international cultural cooperation of Romania are:
- Promotion of all forms of Romanian culture in the European and international arenas.
- Promotion and support of intercultural exchanges and of cultural diversity.
- Support for the mobility of Romanian cultural professionals and of foreign cultural actors.
- Support for professional networking and cooperation between public and private cultural actors.
Every year the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organises a meeting with Romanian ambassadors where a special session is dedicated to public/cultural diplomacy to facilitate the exchange of information and discussing future priorities and projects together with the Ministry of Culture and the Romanian Cultural Institute.
The Romanian Cultural Institute fulfils its international mission of cultural diplomacy throughits strategic projects. The Institute also has a network of 19 Cultural Institutes set up in different countries that has been developing programmes and activities under its supervision. Some of these main strategic projects for 2018 were: Lipatti 100 (100th birth anniversary of the musician Dinu Lipatti), Benjamin Fondane International Prize, Brancusi 140 etc. The main themes for the Romanian Cultural Institute’s 2019 strategic projects were: 100 years since the First World War, 30 years since the Romanian Revolution, Europalia Festival (Belgium). In addition, the Romanian Cultural Institute has an extensive programme of subsidies and grants addressed to Romanian and foreign artists and specialists in a large variety of fields. Although the Romanian Cultural Institute operates under parliamentary control, it has operational ties with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in particular in respect to the administration and functioning of the 19 Cultural Institutes abroad.
Another important actor with a specialised mandate is the Institute of the Romanian Language created by G.D. no. 34/1999, subordinated to the Ministry of Education. The Institute organises and supports Romanian language, culture and civilisation “chairs” (lectorate), which are currently operational in 51 universities in Europe, North America, Caucasus and South and East Asia, as well as teaching courses in Romanian language, culture and civilisation in educational institutions in EU member states.
Romania hosts several cultural agencies that promote foreign cultures in the country and help strengthen and diversify the scope of intercultural dialogue:
- The French Institute
- The British Council
- The Hungarian Cultural Centre
- The Goethe Institute
- The Cervantes Institute
- The Italian Cultural Institute
- The Czech Cultural Centre
- The Polish Institute
All of these institutes organise language courses and a large array of cultural and educational events and host public libraries. They also fund cultural projects proposed by various cultural actors as well as partnerships with public cultural institutions or cultural NGOs.
Last update: April, 2020
The Romanian Ministry of Culture is a founding member of the Council of Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe (CoMoCoSEE) following the signature of the Copenhagen Charter in 2005 and it held a rotating annual presidency in 2011.
Romania is also a member in several regional agreements, partnerships and projects such as the Central European Initiative, the Stability Pact in South-Eastern Europe, the Danube Cooperation Process, the South-Eastern European Cooperation Initiative and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC).
Taking into consideration the traditional ties with French culture and civilisation, enhanced by the strong influence of the French legal and administrative system, Romania is an active member of the Organization Internationale de la Francophonie.
Between November 2018 and July 2019, Romania was a co-organiser of the Season Romania-France, an international cultural project that coincided with the Romanian Presidency at the Council of the European Union, as well as with the celebration of two Centenaries: that of the Great Union (1918), implicitly of modern Romania, and the Centenary of the First World War’s ending. The Season Romania-France had a positive institutional impact, opening premises for the development of direct partnerships.
Romania, through the National Cultural Fund Administration, is an affiliate member of the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA).
Romania joined UNESCO in 1956 and from 1972 until the end of 2011 it hosted the European Centre for Higher Education of UNESCO (CEPES). The UNESCO National Commission of Romania was set up under the direct coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of the Ministry for National Education, to ensure a close relationship with UNESCO and act as a multi-disciplinary body for the coordination of programmes, projects and activities in Romania. In this regard, by the end of 2019, the National Institute for Cultural Research and Training (NICRT, Ro. INCFC, Ed.) and its partners launched the UNESCO-funded study Culture for Development Indicators, which focuses on the contribution of culture to Romania’s sustainable development, as well as on the intersections of the most interesting statistical data on cultural participation, the economic impact of cultural activities and the importance of professional training. The results are embedded within seven analysis dimensions: economy, education, governance, social participation, communication, equality of chances and heritage.
Since its accession to the EU (2007), Romania has participated in all major programmes and initiatives in the field of culture and audiovisual, particularly in the following:
- European Heritage Label. Launched in 2006 to highlight the multiple European dimensions of historical monuments, natural and urban sites or commemorative sites, thus celebrating European values, ideas and history. The Sighet Memorial (former communist prison) is one of the sites that have been awarded this label following the new selection procedure introduced in 2011.
- Creative Europe Programme. The Ministry of Culture, through its specialised unit for the management of projects, is hosting the Romanian Creative Europe Desk.
- Europe for Citizens. The contact point for this programme is also hosted by the Project Management Unit of the Ministry of Culture and National Identity.
- EU Strategy for the Danube Region. Romania is a co-coordinator with Bulgaria for the priority area number 3 (promotion of culture and tourism, of "people to people" contacts) and the Ministry of Culture is the technical coordinator for culture-related matters.
- EU Strategy for the Black Sea Region. Romania supports the regional cooperation, in particular with a view to contributing to the development of the cultural tourism, through such projects as, inter alia, the establishment of the Cultural Port of the Black Sea.
- European Capital of Culture. Following the city of Sibiu, which was awarded this title in 2007, alongside Luxembourg, the city of Timișoara has won the competition and was designated as “European Capital of Culture” for the year 2021.
Romania is one of the beneficiary countries of the EEA financial mechanism. Under the current grant scheme, the Ministry of Culture, through its Project Management Unit, was entrusted with the management of the financing programme dedicated to culture Cultural entrepreneurship, cultural heritage and cultural exchanges (RO-CULTURA). The aim is to support integrated and innovative management of cultural heritage, including that of the Roma minority and strengthening access to culture via the development of cultural entrepreneurship, audience building and support for cultural initiatives concerning the Roma minority.
Last update: April, 2020
All major cultural organisations have established, over the years, direct professional cooperation relations with their counterparts in other countries. They have developed a large variety of projects fostering the participation of professionals and supporting their mobility and permanent exchange of views and transfer of knowledge.
Specialists’ mobility and exchanges are also supported through the funding schemes for subsidies and grants of the Romanian Cultural Institute that cover a large array of fields from literary translations to architecture, philosophy etc.
Cultural professionals’ mobility and cooperation was supported by the Ministry of Culture in the period 2005-2010 via dedicated funds for residence programmes or scholarships as well as for tours abroad of organisations of performing arts, exhibitions of contemporary art and heritage abroad, network of cultural residences (cultural centres), etc.
In recent years, local authorities have diversified, although on an ad-hoc basis, their support programmes for cultural events by including artistic residences and creative camps with local, national or international participation of culture professionals.
Romanian culture professionals participate either as individual members or institutional members in international non-governmental organisations and networks such as: Informal European Theatre Meeting - IETM, European Network on Cultural Management and Policy - ENCATC (its 2018 Congress “Beyond EYCH 2018. What is the cultural horizon? Opening up perspectives to face ongoing transformations” took place in Bucharest, hosted by the National Institute for Cultural Research and Training), Culture Action Europe (its 2018 conference - “Beyond the Obvious” took place in Timișoara), International Council of Museums - ICOM, International Council on Monuments and Sites - ICOMOS, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions - IFLA, International Council on Archives - ICA, International Union of Architects - IUA, Network of European Museum Organizations - NEMO, Organization of World Heritage Cities (The city of Sighișoara is a member), The International Committee for the Conservation of Industrial Heritage -TICCIH, Europa Nostra (six Romanian organizations are members and three are associate members), Trans Europe Halles etc.